Louisa Parry, a Heroine of the Leinster

Louisa was born at Holyhead in 1896. She left Park School at 15 to train as a nurse before joining the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company as a Stewardess in 1914. Two of her sisters were similarly employed at the company. She lived with her family at 5 Fair View, Holyhead. One of nine children, she was only 22 when she lost her life.

She was not scheduled to work that day but sailed in place of one of her sisters who was ill. In all the confusion of a sinking ship, Louisa Parry, not thinking of her own safety, went to a lower deck to help passengers but became trapped in a cabin with a mother and her child; crew members were unable to open the door due to the angle of the ship and the pressure of the water against it.

The photograph of Louisa was taken shortly before her death. It will be noticed that she wears a ring on her engagement finger. It is believed that she was engaged to be married to an Army Officer.

The Memorial Plaque bearing her name is a treasured family reminder of this brave lady. The plaque is currently on loan to the Holyhead Maritime Museum and available to view as part of the museum’s RMS Leinster display.


Fireman John Williams, hero of the Leinster


John Williams originated from Gwalchmai, Anglesey.  In 1910 he married Mary Hughes and in 1911 a daughter, Lizzie, was born at Gwalchmai. The family then moved to South Wales and John gained work as a Miner, living at Merthyr Tydfil and working at Aberfan. A son, John, was born in 1913.
His wife, Mary, grew more and more concerned about the dangers of her husband working as a Miner and they eventually moved back to Anglesey and John found work as a Fireman for the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company. They then lived at 9 Summer Hill, Holyhead.
John must have escaped the effects of the explosion when the first torpedo struck the Leinster but sadly did not survive the second strike that caused the complete destruction of the vessel. Soon after the disaster the family were told that he saved a woman passenger and had gone below to save another when he was lost.
Tragically his brother, Sergeant David Owen Williams, was killed in 1916 at the Somme, whilst serving with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
John Williams’ body was not recovered for burial but his memory continues to be revered by his descendants. In the photos, taken at the Holyhead Maritime Museum, are granddaughters Mary Carr and Blodwen Faulkner. John’s grandson, David Williams is photographed with his wife Pam.

RMS Leinster Commemorative Dinner

As part of marking the loss of the Holyhead Mail Boat, RMS Leinster, in October 1918 a sponsored Commemorative Dinner has been arranged at the Valley Hotel on Saturday, 13 October at 7.30pm. There will be an after dinner talk by local historian Dr. Gareth Huws and musical entertainment by the Magee Brothers.

Tickets are £12.00 each and are available from Holyhead outlets – Holyhead Maritime Museum, The Chocolate Box, Cybi News and Summers Newsagents, London Road.

Get yours whilst they are available!

Use the ‘Contact Us’ page if you are unable to obtain tickets from the above locations.

RMS Munster at Holyhead in 1898

Screenshot 2018-09-24 14.57.48

This unique early film shows RMS Munster, a sister ship of RMS Leinster, docking at Holyhead in 1898 after crossing from Kingstown, now Dun Laoghaire.

The four ships of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company were all named after the provinces of Ireland – Leinster, Ulster, Munster and Connaught. Only the Ulster and Munster survived the Great War and the CoDSPCo ceased trading in 1924 due mainly to these losses.

Click on the following link to view the film – RMS Munster

Past times – a postcard home.


This postcard was sent by a young man on holiday at Anglesey in August 1907 to let his family at Kingstown (now Dún Laghaire) know how he is enjoying himself. He is probably staying at Porth Dafarch, near Holyhead and remarks how rough the sea was at the time.

He makes mention that he had already witnessed the scene on the postcard. RMS Leinster is shown on her way over to Kingstown and passing the end of the Holyhead Breakwater before turning west and picking up speed to cross the Irish Sea.

Many thanks to Mark Bertorelli for permission to use the images of the postcard in his possession.

The RMS Leinster Story – MônFM

The first broadcast by local historian Dr. Gareth Huws of the five part radio documentary telling the story of the loss of RMS Leinster was broadcast tonight (12th September) at 8pm. It will be broadcast again in Welsh on 13 September at 7pm. The series will continue at 8pm each Wednesday in English and 7pm each Thursday in Welsh.

This is part of the programme of events marking the centenary of the loss of the Mail Boat aiming to bring the story to as wide an audience as possible. We are grateful to Dr. Gareth Huws for writing and presenting the broadcasts and also to Tony Jones of Môn FM for facilitating them.

MônFM broadcasts on 102.5 FM and online at monfm.net

Richard Roberts and his talented family.

Richard Roberts was a Fireman on RMS Leinster. He was lost when the mail boat was torpedoed. Aged 44, he lived with his wife, Kate, and large family at London Road, Holyhead. Previous to joining the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company he had worked as a Van Driver for a bakery.

Richard and all his children had musical abilities. Richard himself led the singing at Capel Disgwylfa, Holyhead. His eldest daughter Annie, shown top left in the photo, played the organ at the chapel. Next to Annie is Mary who sang on the eisteddfodau circuit. To Richard’s right is Caradoc who played the piano and to Richard’s left is Ritchie, who had a beautiful base/baritone voice. Next to Ritchie is Jinny who could also play the piano and became a teacher, starting her career at Llandrygarn School. Standing close to his mother is Hugh Enoch, who could also play the piano.

The poignancy of this photograph is that it was taken a couple of months prior to the sinking and Kate Roberts was pregnant at the time. Richard Roberts would never see his unborn child nor would Beryl his daughter ever see her father.

The memorial plaque is at Seiont Chapel, Llandrygarn, Anglesey.

With thanks to Peter Scott Roberts for the information about his grandfather and family. Thanks also to Hefina Roberts for the photo of the Memorial Plaque.

RMS Leinster at the National Maritime Museum, Dun Laoghaire.

An exhibition covering the loss of RMS Leinster has recently opened at the National Maritime Museum of Ireland at Dún Laoghaire. One of the center pieces of the exhibition are two newly installed Interactive Touch Screens displaying all known information on over 800 RMS Leinster casualties and survivors, including many from Holyhead. Also listed are those lost from the U-boat UB-123 that torpedoed the mail boat.

This is the work of a small dedicated research team at the museum – Philip Lecane, Brian Ellis and Lucille Ellis, who have spent many hours searching records and making contact with relatives of those on board RMS Leinster on that fateful day.

The above article was kindly provided by Richard McCormick, President of the Maritime Institute of Ireland and is reproduced from the August 2018 edition of the Marine Times Newspaper of Ireland.