The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

James Hickey


James Hickey was born in Kingstown on the 23rd of February 1890, the second of ten children, three of whom died in infancy. His father was James Hickey who had married Bridget Lewis from Co Antrim in Kingstown in 1887, but the maiden name of the mother on James Jnr’s birth certificate, and of that of the next child, was Murphy. On the birth certificates of the other eight children, including the eldest, the name given is Lewis. Bridget Lewis’s address on the marriage certificate was Kelly’s Avenue, Kingstown while James Hickey’s was 16 Mulgrave Street, Kingstown. Their first child, Nicholas, was born in number 16 and all subsequent children were born in number 24, Mulgrave Street.

James Snr. had been working with the City of Dublin Steam Packet Co since the late 1870s, and on all the birth certificates described himself as a ‘Stoker’ or ‘Marine Stoker’. He was in Liverpool on board RMS Leinster, in for maintenance, in the UK 1901 census, while at home Bridget Hickey declared herself ‘Head of Household’. Young James, then aged eleven, was missing from the census record. Number 24 was described as a third class house, with three households living there, and with the Hickey family occupying two rooms. James Snr. died of pneumonia in St Michael’s Hospital, Kingstown in December 1907.

The family then moved to 52 Patrick Street, described in the 1911 census as a second-class house with six households. Again the Hickey family was living in two rooms. James, then aged twenty-one, gave his occupation as Victualler and two of his sisters were Servants. His older brother, Nicholas, had married earlier that year, giving his occupation as Butcher. When James married in January 1915 his address was 29 Tivoli Terrace East, close to the homes of several CDSPCo employees. This remained a Hickey family home for some time. James married Alice Kenny from Co Wexford, who was working as a servant in Northumberland Avenue. It is not known if they had any children.

On his marriage certificate James gave his occupation as ‘Marine Stoker’ so he had started working with the CDSPCo between 1911 and 1915. He was on duty as a ‘Greaser’ on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October 1918 and he did not survive the sinking of the ship. His body was not recovered but he is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial in London. His widow Alice remarried in 1920 to Michael Gill of Sallynoggin, a widower.




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