People on board
John Ledwidge was born on 25 September 1868 in Christchurch Place, in Dublin City, to John Ledwidge and Celia (Cecelia) Matthew. Ledwidge Sen. was a Boot and Shoemaker and he and Celia had married in 1865. John Jun. was the second of four identified children, though there may have been more born. Two girls were born in 1874 and 1880 when the family were living at Great Ship Street, close to Dublin Castle.
That was the address on John’s marriage certificate in September 1894 when he married Ellen Moore from Margaret Avenue, North Circular Road, and they settled not far away on Jones’ Terrace, Jones’ Road. John’s occupation on the marriage certificate, and on the birth certificate of their first child in 1895, was ‘Clerk’, which became ‘Letter Sorter’ on the certificate of their second child in 1897. It was only on the certificate of their fourth child in March 1901 that ‘G.P.O.’ was specified, but he had been employed by the Post Office from before the time of their marriage. By 1901 the family had moved to Eden Terrace in Glasthule, near Kingstown, and another child was born there, before they moved to Dalkey. The youngest child was born in ‘Hawthorn Cottage’ on Atmospheric Road in 1907, and at the time of the 1911 census the family were living at Number 1 Dalkey Avenue, a “first-class” house. By 1918 they were living on Coliemore Road.
John Ledwidge was on duty sorting the post on board RMS Leinster on 10 October 1918 and he was one of the very few that managed to escape from their compartment. He was then with John Joseph Higgins on the deck, helping an injured fellow Postal Worker Tom Bolster with his life jacket. That was the last time he was seen, though it was reported that he had reached a life raft, but died of exposure. His body was recovered and the funeral took place from the Church of the Assumption in Dalkey on 16 October to Glasnevin cemetery. His name is remembered on the memorial in the G.P.O. in Dublin and in Dun Laoghaire Post Office. He had been in the Post Office service for thirty two years.