The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

James Thomas


James Thomas was born on the 5th of July 1880 in Liverpool to Edward Thomas and Mary Ann Furlong. Both parents were born in Liverpool but Mary Ann’s family had emigrated from Ireland shortly before her birth and they were living on the same street, Raymond Street, when she and Edward married in 1875.  James was the eldest of four children, three sons and a daughter. In the 1891 census Edward Thomas gave his occupation as ‘Boiler Maker’ and his brother-in-law, Peter Furlong who was living with them, was a ‘Ship Stoker’. By 1901 the family had moved to Hornby Road, not far from Liverpool docks, so it is not surprising that James gave his occupation as ‘Dock Labourer’ and his younger brother was a ‘Rivet Lad’.

In August 1901 James Thomas married Bridget Boyd, whose widowed mother had been born in Ireland. They had five children, Edward in 1902, Bridget in 1905, Mary Ann in 1908, Annie in 1912 and Rose in 1914. In the 1911 census they were living in Silvester Street in the same area of Liverpool as he had grown up in, and James gave his occupation as ‘Sailor – Fireman’.

James Thomas enlisted in the King’s (Liverpool Regiment) in August 1915 and was hospitalised a year later with pyrexia while serving with the 11th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers) in France. At that time he was a Corporal. He was wounded in January 1918 when he held the rank of Sergeant. He was subsequently transferred to the 3rd Reserve Battalion which had moved to Ireland in 1917. Presumably while going on leave, he travelled on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October. He did not survive the sinking but his body was recovered and he was buried in Grangegorman Military Cemetery in Dublin.



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