People on board
Georgina O’ Brien was born in Highgate London in 1889 to John O’Brien and his wife Marion. In the 1891 census they were living in Albany Street in Camden town, and both parents stated that they had been born in New South Wales, Australia. The 1911 census gave the information that they were twenty three years married at that stage, giving a date of 1888, but a matching marriage has not been found in either Australia or the U.K. In 1891 John O’Brien gave his occupation as a ‘Brush Manufacturer’s Agent’ and though he did not appear in the 1901 or 1911 censuses Marion O’Brien continued to give her status as ‘Married’. In 1901 she was living with Georgina, aged eleven, in Keppel St, Holborn, where she was a ‘Boarding House Keeper’. In 1911 they were at 45 St Augustine’s Road, in Camden, where, in addition to giving the length of her marriage, she also stated that two children had been born, though only one was living. At that time Georgina, aged twenty one, gave her occupation as ‘Shop Assistant in Linen Store’ and in 1918 she was described as a ‘Clerk in the Irish Linen Stores, New Bond Street.’
It is not known how Georgina O’Brien knew Mary Coffey from Kingstown, a Stewardess on the R.M.S. Leinster, but in evidence at the Inquest Miss Coffey described her as “an old friend”. In the confusion after the torpedo hit the ship Mary Coffey is reported to have encouraged Georgina to climb over the side of the ship and try to catch a raft, but they were separated and Georgina was drowned. Her body was recovered and was identified by Mary Coffey’s brother John, from Charlemont Avenue in Kingstown.
An Inquest was called into the death of Georgina O’Brien and held in the weeks after the tragedy. Both Mary and John Coffey were among the witnesses called to testify, as was Bill Sweeney. George Gavan Duffy, son of Sir Charles Gavan Duffy, founder and editor of The Nation was the barrister representing Georgina O’Brien’s mother.
Georgina was laid to rest in Glasnevin cemetery.