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100 years ago, a Dunmore woman died on the RMS Leinster

Thursday, 11th October, 2018 10:41am
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100 years ago, a Dunmore woman died on the RMS Leinster

RMS Leinster

100 years ago, a Dunmore woman died on the RMS Leinster

RMS Leinster

By Robert Grace

OCTOBER 10 may not be a date that resonates with many people in the West of Ireland, but on that date in 1918 a tragic event occurred that led to the greatest single loss of life ever recorded on the Irish Sea.
This year will mark the centenary of the sinking of the RMS Leinster, 16 miles off our east coast.
The ship, a Royal Mail boat owned by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, had not long departed from Dún Laoghaire on a journey to Holyhead in Wales when it was struck by two German torpedoes and sunk.
A total of 569 people are believed to have perished out of 803 on board, made up of an estimated 77 crew, 22 postal sorters, 180 civilians and 500 soldiers.
Many of the military personnel who died were returning from leave during the dying months of the First World War.
Among those who lost their lives that day was Dunmore-born Sophia Violet Barrett, whose tragic story has been detailed in Philip Lecane’s Torpedoed!: The R.M.S. Leinster Disaster, published in 2005.
A Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurse, Sophia was commonly known as Violet among her friends and family.
VAD was an organisation that provided field nursing services during war. The nurses often worked under incredibly difficult conditions, treating wounded soldiers on board trains, ships and in makeshift hospitals.
Born on February 21, 1884 in Ballintava, Dunmore, Violet was the daughter of Justice of the Peace Samuel Barrett and his wife Elizabeth (nee Henry).

Read the full feature in this week's edition of The Tuam Herald

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