The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

John Lynch


John Lynch was born in Cork City about 1896 to Patrick Lynch and Hannah (Annie) née Shinkwin. Neither birth certificate nor baptism record has been found for John so his dates are taken from censuses. When Patrick and Annie were married in 1884 his address was Harpur’s Lane and hers was Coppinger Lane and they lived in Coppinger Lane until about 1890 when they moved to Kift’s Lane. Patrick was a Cooper, as his father had been before him.

There were seven children living in Kift’s Lane in 1901, John being the fifth. However the 1911 census showed that there had been eleven children born, six were then alive. Patrick had died in 1905 of T.B. at the early age of thirty-eight so Annie was the Head of Household in 1911. By then they had moved to Drawbridge Street. Her eldest son was a Labourer, two daughters were ‘Trading Dealers’ and John, aged fifteen, was a ‘Shop Messenger’. Also in the household were Annie’s father, Michael Shinkwin, an ‘Army Pensioner’, and her brother Peter.

In September 1917 John Lynch married Nora Chute, both giving 10 Knapps Square as their address, which was Nora’s family home. On their marriage certificate John, then aged about twenty-one, gave his occupation as Labourer.

A son, Patrick, was born in June 1918. John’s limited military records show that he enlisted in the Royal Munster Fusiliers, but not when. In 1918 he was serving in the 1st Battalion which had been joined with the 57th (West Lancashire) division in April 1918.

A short newspaper report in the Cork Examiner on the 11th of November 1918 explained much. John Lynch had been wounded and was at home on sick leave. He was returning to duty when he travelled on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October and did not survive the sinking. The newspaper also said that he had been wounded twice, once at Cambrai, and “had fought hard in the famous Mons retreat”. This refers to an event in August 1914 when many Royal Munster Fusiliers, amongst others in the British Expeditionary Force, were killed. This indicates that John Lynch had enlisted at the beginning of the war.

The piece in the Cork Examiner was titled ‘A Soldier Family’ and included a photo of John Lynch and his uncle, Thomas Shinkwin. The latter, younger brother of Annie Lynch née Shinkwin, was in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, and had died in a military hospital in Dublin on the 4th of November 1918, having been wounded in France. Continuing the family involvement in the military, the piece also noted that two of John Lynch’s brothers-in-law served in the R.D.F. and in the Munster Fusiliers.

John Lynch’s body was not recovered but his name is recorded on the Hollybank Memorial in Southampton. Nora remarried about four years later and had three daughters.



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