Archive for Holyhead

The Leinster Disaster

Posted in History with tags , , , , on October 10, 2018 by telescoper

The radio news this morning reminded me that  solemn commemorations were taking place today to mark the centenary of the greatest maritime disaster ever to occur in the Irish Sea.

 

A little before 9am on 10th October, the Leinster serving as the Royal Mail Ship RMS Leinster, set out from Dún Laoghaire (then named Kingstown), which is about 8 miles south of Dublin, en route to Holyhead, with an estimated 771 people on board. About an hour into her journey, a few miles from the Kish Lighthouse, the Leinster was struck by three torpedoes from German submarine UB-123 and sank. At least 500 people lost their lives in this disaster, and some estimates put the death toll as high as 591. It wasn’t particularly cold that day but the Irish Sea was still rough after a storm had passed through. The survivors of the sinking were largely those who made it into lifeboats, but many of the people who had to attempt to cling to floating wreckage could not hold on until help arrived and were drowned.

To complete this horrible illustration of the tragedy of war, nine days later on 19th October 1918, the U-boat UB-123 struck a mine in the North Sea and went down with all hands.

You can read a fuller account of the Leinster disaster here.

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