People on board
Patrick Healy was born in 3 Fair Street, Mallow, Co Cork on the 13th of February 1891 to Cornelius Healy and Margaret Donoghue. They were married in 1881 and altogether seventeen children were born, thirteen of whom were alive in 1911. Margaret’s father, a Dealer and Army Pensioner, was living with the family in both 1901 and 1911, in the four-roomed house. In 1911 four of the sons, including Patrick, had moved next door to number 2 which was also a Barber’s shop. Here Patrick pursued his occupation as Barber.
In August 1911 he married Mary Holmes, also of Fair Street, and in October 1914 a son, Cornelius, was born. However in June 1915 Mary died and the following October Patrick enlisted in Patrick Street in Cork in the Army Service Corps. Six of his brothers also enlisted in the army during the war, one of them being killed in action and one being wounded. Patrick was discharged in December 1915 as “not being likely to become an efficient soldier” and presumably returned to Mallow to his job as Barber.
As he recounted to the Cork Examiner after the sinking of RMS Leinster on the 10th of October 1918 he was travelling to England “to join his wounded brother who was working in a munitions factory”. Patrick described the torpedoes hitting the ship and how he had helped to release several life rafts.
He said that he recognised a young girl from Mallow, (possibly Birdie O’Connor?) and catching her by the back of her lifebelt, helped her into a lifeboat. He managed to get into the water himself and on to a raft with a sailor and another civilian. They were eventually rescued by a cruiser where they were taken aboard and “every attention was paid to our wants”. They were taken to Kingstown where they were “treated with the utmost kindness”.
Patrick Healy subsequently joined the newly formed National Army, where he served as a Private in the 38th Infantry Battalion. However, in June 1923 he died of T.B. in Mallow Workhouse, which was also the local hospital. His wife’s mother, Mrs B Holmes, was named as Guardian to young Cornelius on Patrick’s Attestation Papers in 1915, so it is likely that she looked after the orphaned child.