People on board
Mathew Brophy was born on the 26th November 1882 to Walter Brophy and Sarah Fagan. Walter was born in Kilkenny City and was a Stonemason working with Fitzpatrick & Sons, Monumental Stonemasons, in Glasnevin Cemetery. His address on his marriage certificate, and of the family until about 1890, was Cemetery Avenue (now Prospect Avenue) right beside the cemetery. Mathew was the eldest of nine children, the first four born in 12 Cemetery Avenue and the next four born in 50 St Ignatius Road, Phibsborough.
In the 1901 census Walter gave his occupation as ‘Marble Mason’ and Mathew, aged eighteen, was a ‘Sorter G.P.O.’ A final child was born in 1903 when the family were living in 10 Munster Street in Phibsborough.
Walter died in 1905 at the age of forty-seven and was buried in Glasnevin cemetery. The newspaper notice of his death asked that “American papers please copy”, suggesting that some of his family had emigrated. In the 1911 census seven of the children were living with their widowed mother, with Mathew a ‘Post Office Sorting Clerk’. His three brothers were all employed and his three sisters were at school.
On the 10th October 1918 Mathew was one of the Post Office workers whose work it was to sort the post as RMS Leinster was en route to Holyhead. He was seventeen years working with the Post Office at this time, and this would have been a routine assignment. When the torpedo hit the ship and destroyed the Postal Office compartment Mathew was one of those who did not escape. His body was never recovered but his will was probated in November 1918. His name is among those of the twenty-one men remembered on the memorials in the G.P.O. in Dublin and in Dun Laoghaire Post Office.
His son Mathew married Mary Godsil, a teacher from Cork, in 1941. His widow, Mary Brophy née Costello died in 1958.