The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

William Francis O'Mahony

O’MAHONY, William Francis, L/Cpl.

William Francis O’Mahony was born on 5 June 1885, the fifth of eight children of Michael O’Mahony and Elizabeth Jane Kendall. Michael, born in County Cork, and Elizabeth Jane, who was born in England, married in London in 1877 and they had their first child, Catherine, there, and the second, John, in Cardiff, before moving to Dublin. At the time of the birth of their third child, Ethel, in 1881, Michael’s occupation was ‘Clerk in the Civil Service’ and they were living in 2 St Thomas Terrace, South Circular Road. This would continue to be their home, though they later moved to Number 38 and then Number 36. The child Ethel died in 1882, aged one, and another girl, Edith, was born the same year, to be followed in 1885 by William and in 1887 by Frederick. Two more girls, Evelyn and Margaret were born in 1889 and 1891, but just two months after Margaret’s birth Elizabeth Jane died of pneumonia at the age of just thirty two. In October 1898 Frederick died of tuberculosis and meningitis, aged eleven.

In the 1901 census return, widower Michael O’Mahony, ‘Staff Officer Teachers’ Pensions’, had the two boys John and William living with him, as well as his daughter Edith and the two young girls Evelyn and Margaret. John was a ‘Telegraph Clerk’, Edith presumably was looking after the family while the others were ‘Scholars’. By the time of the 1911 census Edith had married and only John and William were at home with their father, as well as their eldest sister Catherine who had been missing from the 1901 census. William was an ‘Accountants Clerk Articled’, while John was a ‘Civil Servant Telegraphist’, while their father was in the same position as before but detailing that he was working in Dublin Castle. In March 1912 Michael O’Mahony, then aged sixty five, died of pulmonary tuberculosis and was buried in Glasnevin cemetery. His son John purchased this grave and erected a headstone which also commemorated his mother Elizabeth Jane and his siblings Ethel and Frederick, but though they were buried in Glasnevin, they are not in this grave.

The remaining family moved to Oxford Road in Ranelagh from where Margaret was married in 1915 and John in 1923. By 1918 William was described as an Accountant, but it is not known where he was working. He joined the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, but unfortunately the records do not show when he enlisted, or where he had been fighting. In 1918 he had the rank of Lance Corporal with the 1st Battalion, which was involved in the battle of Ypres in September 1918. He was presumably returning from a rest period at home when he travelled on RMS Leinster on 10 October. He did not survive the sinking but his body was recovered and after Mass in Rathmines Church he was buried in Glasnevin cemetery beside his father.



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