The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

John Lacey


According to the 1918 Crew List John Lacey was thirty–two and so born about 1886, and a newspaper report of the sinking of RMS Leinster said that he was from Wexford. Unfortunately there were two John Laceys with those details, so it is difficult to be certain that this is the correct man. As it is known that he was living in Cahore, Ballygarret in 1968 this seems the more likely choice.

This John Lacey was born on the 28th of August 1885 in Parkansley, Ballygarret to John Lacey, a Sailor, and Ellen James. John, a Fisherman, and Ellen had married in Ballygarret in 1874.  Ellen was a widow by 1901 and was living in Glascarrig South, Ballygarret with a daughter Kate, aged nineteen and son John, aged fifteen. In the 1911 census Ellen was a Farmer at Glascarrig and John was an Agricultural Labourer. The following year Ellen Lacey, widow of a Sailor, died at Glascarrig with her son, John, present at the death.

It seems logical that John would have moved to Dublin after the death of his mother, and while it is not known when he joined the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, it would fit with the pattern of his father’s life. John Lacey was working as a Seaman on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October 1918, described in the Drogheda Independent as a Deckhand. This newspaper carried an account of how John Lacey, in a lifeboat filled to capacity, put a line around the body of a man in the water, lashed the line to a thwart, and in that way kept the man alive for an hour or more.

Having survived the sinking of the ship it is not known if John Lacey continued at sea or found another job. He joined three of his former colleagues in 1968 when Tom Connolly organised a dinner for the survivors who were still alive, to commemorate the disaster. He would have been eighty-three then.


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