#BookLaunch - An Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Councillor Tom Murphy, will officially launch this evening, 9 November, the centenary book of the Irish Sea 'mail-boat' steamer RMS Leinster.
The launch of the book “The Last Voyage of the Leinster” published by the Mail Boat Leinster Centenary Committee with assistance from DLR County Council takes place in the Dún Laoghaire Club (off Marine Road) 3 Eblana Avenue beginning at 7.30p.m. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.
The 2,640 gross tons RMS Leinster having during the last year of WW1 was struck by torpedo from German U-Boat 123 while on passage from Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) and Holyhead. The sinking took place 16 miles offshore on 10 October 1918 and led to the loss of officially 501 people out of the 771 on board, making the incident one of the greatest ever loss of life in the Irish. In addition the tradgedy marked the highest ever casualty rate on an Irish owned ship.
The mail-boat and passenger steamer, RMS Leinster operated by the City of Dublin Steam Packet (see piece) commanded by Captain William Birch had a 76 crew drawn from both the Irish Sea ports. Also working on board were 22 personnel from Dublin Post Office,in the ship's onboard postal sorting room. As for the passengers, there were 180 civilians, men, women and children. Most of them were from Ireland and Britain.
By far the greatest number of passengers on board RMS Leinster (painted in camouflage) were military personnel from Ireland, Britain, Canada, the US, Austrlia and New Zealand. Many of them were going on leave or returning from leave. Research to date has revealed the names of 529 casualties, more than the official total lost.
A week after UB-123 carried out the attack on RMS Leinster, the submarine while returning to Germany, was struck a mine in the North Sea. Commander Robert Ramm and all of his young crew were lost.
The RMS Leinster built in 1897 at Laird Brothers, Birkenhead and was then one of the fastest ships at sea with a speed of 24 knots. The remaining sisters of the quartet named after the Irish provinces were the Connacht, Munster and Ulster.
The official site of the RMS Leinster (click here) is dedicated to remembering those who died on the R.M.S. Leinster and UB-123. It is also dedicated to the people who survived the Leinster sinking and those who rescued them. We would love to hear from you if you have information on anyone who was caught up in the sinking or its aftermath.
Next year the Mail Boat Leinster Centenary Committee will commemorate the centenary of the sinking of RMS Leinster on the 100th aniversary, 10 October 2018. Plans to mark the centenary are underway. If you would like to be kept informed as plans develop, please contact us at [email protected]
For further information check the 100th Anniversary section here.