People on board
Patrick Faughlin (sometimes Faughnan) was born in Trim, Co Meath on the 3rd of April 1886 to Thomas Faughlin and Mary Flynn. He was the eldest of the four surviving children, of seven. Thomas was a General Labourer as was Patrick and his brother Thomas. In 1902 Patrick enlisted in the Leinster Regiment for six years, re-engaging in 1908 and 1914. He was promoted Lance Corporal in 1913 and Corporal in June 1914 but when his regiment was mobilised in August 1914 he reverted to Private “at his own request”, according to his military records.
In 1912 he had married Mary Finnegan in Trim and they had three children, Thomas 1913, Patrick 1914 who died five months later, and Peter in April 1918. They lived in Wellington Street in Trim.
He was with the Expeditionary Force in France from March 1915 until November 1916 and again from January until April 1917. In April 1917 he was in Malta where he contracted malaria and spent some time in hospital. He had a relapse in April 1918 and was subsequently declared “not available for a theatre of war where malaria is prevalent”. He was transferred to the 3rd Battalion at Fort Purbrook in Portsmouth in July 1918.
On the 4th of October a military court was convened in Portsmouth to deal with the absence of Private Patrick Faughlin, and of his military belongings, and he was declared a deserter. He had been granted leave from the 28th of September until the 4th of October. However, in a letter to the War Office on the 14th of November, his widow said that he had left home on the 8th to return to his regiment in Portsmouth which suggests that he may have inadvertently returned late. Unfortunately he travelled on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October and he did not survive the sinking.
By the 14th of November, when she wrote to the War Office, Mary Faughlin had received no confirmation that Patrick was dead or alive. She said that “he was always in the habit of writing to me regular” and as he had “left at about the time the Leinster was sunk” she feared “something may have happened to him”. She went on to say that her Separation Allowance had been stopped and that she and her children were “in a deplorable state”. A letter from the Embarkation Officer at North Wall at the end of November stated that there was no trace of Private Faughlin having embarked from there on the 9th or 10th. Eventually in March 1919 the authorities “Accepted his death for official purposes”, that he was “Drowned ex-RMS Leinster”. In June 1919 Mary Faughlin received 31/- Separation Allowance. In May she had received £14 9 9 due for back pay to her husband, and the following August she received the same amount for each of her two children. Unfortunately the records do not show if she received any pension.
Patrick Faughlin’s name is recorded on the Hollybrook Memorial in Southampton and on a plaque in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Trim, erected in 2013.