The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

John Kinsella


John Kinsella was born on 8 March 1883 at 105 Grangegorman, Dublin, also named ‘The Rope Walk’. His parents, Matthew Kinsella and Rose Brien had married in Swords, Co Dublin in 1875 and there were three other children in this marriage. Matthew was a Constable with the Dublin Metropolitan Police, retiring in the early 1890s. Rose died in July 1888 in Aughrim Street in Stoneybatter, where the family had moved a few years earlier. Matthew Kinsella remarried in 1894 to Anne Keogh née Hilliard who, like John, was also widowed and three girls were born between 1895 and 1898.

By the time of the 1901 census the family had moved to 34 Stoneybatter where John had opened a Green Grocer’s shop. In this four-roomed building there were twelve people, Matthew and Anne, two teenaged sons John and Matthew from the first marriage, the three young girls, two young daughters from Anne’s first marriage, as well as three boarders. Eighteen year old John was working as a ‘Draper’s Assistant’.

John married Alice Quinn in October 1907 in Aughrim Street, John giving his occupation as ‘Driver’. They lived in a tenement in Rialto Buildings, across the River Liffey from Stoneybatter, in two rooms with their two children, Matthew born 1909 and Daniel in 1910. On both occasions John’s occupation was given as ‘Groom’. However, when a third child, Alice Frances, was born in 1913, her father’s occupation was given as Agent, Grand Canal Co. and their address as Hazelhatch. A fourth child, James, was born in 1916.

The available military records for John are scant, so it is not known when he enlisted with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, or what action he was involved in. They do state that he had been employed by the Grand Canal Company. In 1918 he was with the Royal Defence Corps, which was made up from soldiers who were medically unfit for front-line duties, so he may have been injured while with the RDF. The role of the Defence Corps was mainly security and guard duties in the U.K. He was presumably returning to duty from leave in Dublin when he was travelling on RMS Leinster on 10 October 1918 along with twenty-eight more members of the Defence Corps. John did not survive the sinking, nor was his body recovered. He is remembered on the Hollybrook Memorial in Southampton.



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