People on board
Patrick Forbes was born on the 9th of July 1873 to Patrick Forbes, a Plumber, and Eliza Kinlan. Both Patrick and Eliza were born in Co Louth and married in Drogheda in 1869, where they had their first two children. The family then moved to Dublin and Patrick Jnr. was born in Brady’s Cottages in the Grand Canal Dock area. Another son was born there before the family moved again, just around the corner to Lime Street, where the condition of the houses was a little better. Both Brady’s Cottages and Lime Street feature Chapter 2 in James Joyce’s Ulysses.
There were eight children in the family, five of whom were living with their parents in Lower Tyrone Street at the time of the 1901 census. Two of the sons were Plumbers, along with their father, while Patrick was a ‘Clerk in G.P.O.’ having started work there in 1893. When Patrick Snr. died in 1903 of “Acute Phthisis” or TB, the family were living in Seville Place. In 1911 four, including Patrick, were still living with their widowed mother in Seville Place. By 1918 they had moved to Clonliffe Road, an area where several postal workers were living and where Eliza died in December 1918.
Patrick Forbes would have travelled to Kingstown by train on the 10th of October with the mail and fellow sorters. He would have been accustomed to working in the restricted space of the Post Office compartment on R.M.S. Leinster as they sorted the mail while en route to Holyhead. When the torpedo hit the ship that compartment was immediately flooded and the workers had little chance to escape, even if they had survived the impact. Only four escaped on to the deck and only one survived the sinking, but Patrick Forbes was not one of those. His body was never recovered, but he is remembered on the memorials in the G.P.O. and in Dun Laoghaire Post Office.