People on board
MARTIN, Frank A.
The personal details of Frank A Martin have not been confirmed, but he may be the man born in California about 1892 to William Augustine and Julia A Martin. In the 1920 census they were living in Berkeley and Frank was a House Plasterer. If this is the man he enlisted in May 1918 and the following November he was mustered at the Naval Air Station in Miami, Florida.
What is known is that, in October 1918, Frank A Martin was working at the Naval Air Station at Whiddy Island in Bantry Bay, Cork. This air base was only commissioned in July 1918, though there were personnel present from March, and was used for anti-submarine patrols by seaplanes. On the 10th of October a small group of Americans from Whiddy island travelled on RMS Leinster, possibly going on leave. Most, though not all, survived the sinking.
Frank A Martin, spoke to the press after the sinking and described how he and several other Americans had tried to get some lifeboats launched but failed before the final torpedo hit. Martin went on to say that he found himself in the water without a life belt, “hardly any of my party had life belts, it was our own fault and risk, we did not put them on”. The group of Americans were eventually rescued and taken to the Sailors War Hostel in Dublin. A photo was subsequently taken of Martin, J.M. Rafferty and D.J. Murphy with three British sailors. They were also mentioned by the American Consul in his telegram report to Washington of the sinking on the 10th when he named some of the Americans who were on board.