People on board
Clare Eleanor McNally was born 24 June 1887 at Forster Street, Galway to James McNally and Mary (Minnie) O’Shea, the second of six children. James had joined the British Army at a young age and, fighting with the 94th Foot, was seriously wounded at the Battle of Ulundi in Zululand, in South Africa, in 1879. In 1881 the 94th Foot was amalgamated into the newly formed Connaught Rangers and, about this time, James, born in Co Monaghan, married Mary O’Shea from Co Cork. Their first child, Mary Frances, was born in 1885 in Fermoy where the battalion was in the New Barracks. They had moved to Galway when Clare was born but then there was a period in Cyprus where Violet was born (the birth was registered in Alexandria, Egypt). By 1896 they were in Castlebar, Co Mayo, where Monica Magdalen, known as Mona, was born. Two further children were born in Renmore Barracks in Galway, Bernard in 1898 and Beatrice in 1901.
Major James McNally died in Galway in April 1917 “from an illness contracted during his war service”; apparently he had volunteered at the outbreak of war in 1914 and had been involved in recruiting. A London address given on his entry on the National Roll of the Great War suggests that the family moved between Galway and London, and by this stage Clare was working as a V.A.D. nurse in Londonderry House Hospital in Mayfair. Her older sister, Mary Frances, had married in 1909 and her younger sister, Violet, married in early 1918. Clare’s obituary in the Irish Examiner in November 1918 said that she was “shortly to be married” to Reginald Erskine-Lindop of the Inniskilling Fusiliers, a man ten years her junior. In the end he married Clare’s younger sister Mona in 1919.
According to the newspaper obituary Clare was returning to London after a holiday spent in Co Cork on 10 October when the torpedoes struck RMS Leinster. She did not survive, but her body was recovered and laid to rest in Bohermore cemetery in Galway, alongside her father. The coffin was taken to the grave between two files of Connaught Rangers, followed by their band playing the funeral march. A letter to Mrs McNally from the Marchioness of Londonderry was published, which expressed her “gratitude and appreciation of the good work done voluntarily by [Clare] at Londonderry House Hospital for more than two years”. Clare is remembered on the Irish National Roll of Honour.