The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Richard Patterson            

When Richard Patterson perished on board RMS Leinster on 10 October 1918 he had completed almost forty years of service with the Post Office, having been appointed a ‘Boy Sorter’ in October 1878. In June 1889 he married Kate Chambers in St Matthew’s Church of Ireland church in Irishtown, when the occupation of both fathers was given as ‘Clerk’. Richard and Kate lived at 43 Tritonville Road, and all their children were baptised in the nearby St Matthew’s parish church. According to the census, both were born about 1863/64, but civil birth certificates have been found for neither. Their first child, William, was born in 1891, followed by Richard in 1892, who only lived two months. George, 1893 and James 1894 followed, and then Kathleen was born in 1896, only living forty-two days. Before her death the family had moved to Rosemount Terrace, Londonbridge Road, just a short distance away, where Norah was born in 1898 and Edmund in 1901, the latter living only six months, followed by Charles in 1902. Then there was a final move to Leahy’s Terrace, again in the same neighbourhood, where the last child, Eileen, was born in 1905.

Post Office PlaqueBy 1918 Richard Patterson had been appointed Assistant Superintendent in the Post Office, his youngest child was thirteen and they were living in a good house in Sandymount, a pleasant area in Dublin. He was stroke in the Dolphin Rowing Club in Ringsend and was also the club secretary. Probably their biggest worry was that their three eldest sons were, according to newspaper reports, all fighting in the war. The career of only one, George, has been found; he had enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in Calgary in February 1916. He was wounded in September of that year in the Somme offensive, and it is believed that he remained in Canada.

Richard Patterson was in charge of twenty-one Post Office workers on board RMS Leinster when the torpedo struck. The Post Office sorting room was on the lowest deck, near the bow, accessible only by a ladder. Only four of the men escaped to the upper deck, and only one of them survived the sinking. Patterson did not survive nor was his body recovered. His name however is recorded on the War Memorial in St Matthew’s Church in Irishtown, as well as on the memorials in the GPO and Dun Laoghaire Post Office.

His widow Kate died in 1924, and the children all appear to have left Ireland, some going to England and subsequently to Canada.




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