On Thursday 11 October at 11am, the OPW will hold an Act of Remembrance at the Grangegorman Military Cemetery followed by the opening of an exhibition at the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Leinster and to remember those lost. The Exhibition will be opened by Philip Lecane, author of the book Torpedoed, the R.M.S. Leinster Disaster.
This will be the first opportunity for many of the descendants of those who lost their lives (many of whom have travelled from as far away as America and Australia) to visit their relatives graves a hundred years after the tragedy which claimed the lives of 564 people. Over 140 military personnel from the sinking are buried in Grangegorman Military Cemetery and the commemoration will include a colour party from the Irish Defence Forces and will be attended by the Archdeacon of Christchurch Cathedral and the Chaplin of McKee Barracks.
Relatives and guests will also be invited to tour a new exhibition in the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre entitled “13 minutes to disaster, the sinking of the RMS Leinster” which chronicles this dreadful tragedy and displays personal artefacts from those who lost their lives including medals, life-jackets and photos. It also tells the unique stories of some of the victims including that of 14 year old Thomas Woodgate who had enlisted and was off to join the war effort and that of Dublin nurse Sophie Violet Barrett who died on her way back to serve again. There are so many strands to this deeply tragic story not only of the deaths of military personnel but also 21 postal sorters who drowned and the letters from home that never made it to their loved ones fighting overseas.
The R.M.S Leinster left Carlisle Pier in Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) for Holyhead on the 10th October 2018 carrying 771 passengers and crew. But by far the greatest number of passengers on board the Leinster were military personnel. Many of them were going or returning from leave and they came from Ireland, Britain, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia. There were 180 civilian passengers, men, women and children, most of them from Ireland and Britain. The ship was torpedoed by the German U Boat resulting in the 564 casualties, the greatest ever number of people to die in the Irish Sea. More Irish people died on the R.M.S. Leinster then on the Titanic or the Lusitania.
Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran T.D., Minister of State for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief said, “This important Exhibition chronicles this terrible tragedy as we mark its centenary and I would encourage anyone with an interest in the history of this period to go along and learn about the disaster and to attend the talks which are scheduled this month”.
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Philip Lecane was educated at Christian Brothers College, Cork and University College Cork. Now living in Monkstown, Co. Dublin, he has written many articles on Dun Laoghaire local history and on Irish involvement in the First World War. Torpedoed! The R.M.S. Leinster Disaster is his first book. He will publish a new book on the Women and Children of the R.M.S. Leinster later this month.
Event: “13 minutes to disaster, the sinking of the RMS Leinster”
Location: Visitor Centre Phoenix Park
Dates: 11 October 2018 – 31 October 2018
Times: 10am – 4pm every day
Lectures: 3pm 14th October Speaker – Philip Lecane on “Torpedoed, The R.M.S. Leinster Disaster”.
3pm 21st October Speaker – Dave Levins on “The GPO, Mail Ships and the First World War“.