19 Aug 2022

Longford's Garden of Remembrance to mark centenary of RMS Leinster sinking

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Longford town's Garden of Remembrance, where a commemorative event will take place next Wednesday to mark the centenary of the sinking of the mailboat the RMS Leinster.

Longford County Library, Heritage and Archives Services will commemorate the centenary of the sinking of the mailboat the RMS Leinster on Wednesday, October 17. 

Amongst the 569 people who were drowned were six Longford people: Violet Barrett, Kenagh; Edward Finnan, Churchland, Longford; Edward Kelly, Granard; Patrick McBrien, Moyne; William Henry Thompson, Ballynulty, Granard; and William Wakefield, Newtownforbes. 

A local army doctor, Edwin Boyers, was involved in treating the survivors and he caught pneumonia and died within a couple of weeks. 

The Leinster regularly crossed the Irish Sea carrying mail, but it also carried military personnel during the war. 

It was torpedoed by a German submarine soon after it left Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire) on 10 October. The loss of life was the greatest of any sinking in the Irish Sea.

The commemorative event will begin in the Remembrance Garden, Great Water Street, at 6 pm on Wednesday, October 17 with an ecumenical prayer service and a ceremony led by the Peter Keenan Branch of ONE. 

Following this, at 6.45, there will be a talk in Longford Library on the local people who died. The speakers will be Doreen McHugh, local historian, and George Armstrong, a relative of Violet Barrett.

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