The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Robert William Michael

MICHAEL, Robert William

Robert William Michael was born in Holyhead in 1873 to Robert Michael and Arabella Evans. Robert was the second of the seven children in the family, all boys except for one. The family lived in 42 Newry Street and Robert Snr. was a Steward with the City of Dublin Steam Packet Co. working on the mailboats, and several of his family followed him to work with the Company. The eldest son, Richard, was Second Mate while Robert William and Arthur were Engineers. A younger son, Phillip, did an Engineering Apprenticeship with the C.D.S.P.Co qualifying as a Marine Engineer. He served on board ships from Liverpool for some years before returning to Holyhead and he was working on shore in 1918.

Both Robert and Arabella Michael died in 1902 within weeks of each other. In 1904 Robert William married Nannette Walshe from Shillelagh in Co Wicklow. They had three children, Nannette, Robert and Irma and they lived in the family home in Newry Street.

Robert was on duty on RMS Leinster as a Third Engineer on the 10th of October 1918 and also on board was his brother Phillip, who was returning to Holyhead having been on company business in Kingstown. Phillip did not survive the sinking but his body was recovered, and was among those brought back to Holyhead on the SS Rostrevor on the Monday. Robert William Michael did survive and gave a newspaper interview describing his experience. He was initially knocked unconscious, but recovering, got himself to the deck and to his designated boat. He said that there were some women in his lifeboat, which was full. They were drifting for about two hours before they were picked up. He was hospitalised in Dublin, being badly bruised and his arm damaged.

He subsequently went on living in Holyhead where he died in 1935, aged sixty-two.


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