RMS Leinster, Royal Mail Ship
The Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Leinster operated by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, served as the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire)-Holyhead mail boat.
She was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine UB-123 on October 10, 1918, while bound for Holyhead. She went down just outside Dublin Bay at a point four miles east of the Kish light. Some 501 people perished in the sinking — the greatest single loss of life in the Irish Sea.
Built by Cammel-Laird of Birkenhead
Displacement (ton): 2,640
Dimensions (L*B*H) (feet):378*75*42
Propulsion: an 8 cylinder triple expansion 9,000 horsepower steam engine, twin screws
Speed (knots): 24
Armament (during World War I): 1*12 pounder gun, 2* signal guns
Her journal shows that she carried 77 crew and 694 passengers on her final voyage. The passengers included 22 postal sorters manning an onboard mail-room and just under 500 military personnel. The latter comprised of army, naval, air force and nursing personnel from Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.
Just before 10 a.m., while east of the Kish Bank, passengers on the Leinster saw a torpedo approach from the port side. It missed the ship, passing in front of the bow. Shortly afterwards a second torpedo struck the ship forward on the port side, in the vicinity of the mail-room. Captain William Birch ordered the ship to make a u-turn, in an attempt to return to Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire). The ship began to settle slowly by the bow. Then a third torpedo stuck the Leinster. There was a huge explosion and the ship sank quickly. Some lifeboats had been launched and survivors also clung to life-rafts. British destroyers HMS Lively, HMS Mallard and HMS Seal picked up survivors after the Leinster sank. Captain Birch was among those lost in the sinking. Survivors were brought to Kingstown harbor.
The UB-123 was lost in a minefield in the North Sea on her way back to Germany, on or about October 19, 1918. The bodies of her commander Oberleutnant zur See Robert Ramm and his crew of two officers and thirty three men were never recovered.
||90th anni', Sinking of the RMS Leinster (mail ship) 1918, by German U-Boat U-123