Richard Williams lost on RMS Leinster

Richard Williams was born at Holyhead and lived with his wife Catherine and son, also named Richard, at 9 Rock Street in the Millbank area of Holyhead. He had been a seaman for most of his working life and was 53 years old when lost on RMS Leinster.

The photograph was taken at Southampton when he was serving as Bosun on HMT (RMS) Connaught, sister ship to RMS Leinster. She had been taken over by the Admiralty to carry troops across the English Channel to the battlefields of France and Belgium. In March 1917 the Connaught was torpedoed on the way back to Southampton with the loss of three crew members. Many of the surviving crew were relocated to positions on the remaining City of Dublin Steam Packet Company ships – Munster, Ulster and Leinster. Richard moved to serve on RMS Leinster but lost his position as Bosun and was employed as a Seaman.

When news of the sinking of the Leinster reached Holyhead relatives of those on board were desperate for information, not knowing if their fathers, sons or daughters had survived or not. Young Richard Williams, aged about 13, was sent to 13 Well Street where it was known that Evan Rowlands, a Gunner on the Leinster, had reached Holyhead. Evan was serving with the Royal Naval Reserve but had previously been a Quartermaster on the Leinster and was probably well known to the Williams family.

The family story continues with the information that Evan Rowlands’ daughter, Dorothy (Dora), who was about 11 years old at the time, was the one who answered the door and asked young Richard in. This was the first meeting between Richard and Dorothy who later became friends, found love and eventually married.

The medals include those awarded to Richard Williams at the end of the Great War. They comprise the Mercantile Medal, the British War Medal and the RNRĀ  Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. They have been donated to the Holyhead Maritime Museum by Beryl Mair Williams, the only child of Richard and Dora Williams. Sadly she passed away just prior to the ‘RMS Leinster Centenary Commemorations’. She had the unique relationship with the loss of the Leinster as she had both Grandfathers on the vessel – one survived, the other lost. This post is dedicated to her memory.

Private Owen Hughes Remembered

Private Owen Hughes of Holyhead served with the Westmoreland and Cumberland Yeomanry during WW1 and was lost aged 23 on RMS Leinster when she was torpedoed on the Irish Sea on 10 October 1918. He was travelling home on leave. His body was not recovered for burial.

We are very grateful to Andrew Thomas and his family for allowing their relative’s Memorial Plaque to be put on display at the Holyhead Maritime Museum. Observers can see how well polished it was kept as a treasured reminder of a lost loved one.

Our Evening at St. Mary’s Hall

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An excellent time was had by all at St. Mary’s Hall for the evening of ‘Performance and Presentations’, one of our Commemoration events at Holyhead.

We were pleased to welcome Richard Cruise and David Cotter from Dun Laoghaire to the evening. They were kind enough to bring a number of commemoration mugs as gifts.

They are pictured with our special guests Albert Owen MP and Rhun ap Iorwerth AM together with Holyhead Mayor, Keith Thomas.

 

RMS Leinster Commemoration Cup

 

The Primary Schools of Holyhead today took part in a 5-a-side Football Competition at the Holyhead Leisure Centre. The worthy winners were Ysgol Gymraeg Morswyn who beat a strong team from Ysgol Rhoscolyn.

Holyhead Mayor, Keith Thomas, presented the cup to the proud team captain.

The competition was organised with the grateful assistance of Holyhead Hotspurs as a tribute to the football teams that most Holyhead ships had at the time of the Great War. We are hoping that the cup will now be played for on an annual basis.

Tributes to the lost of RMS Leinster

 

Yesterday, on 10 October 2018, people of Holyhead came together at the Town Cenotaph to remember those lost on RMS Leinster 100 years ago. In particular they came to pay homage to the 27 from the town who set sail from Ireland for home that morning but an hour or so later perished in the cold dark waters of the Irish Sea.

Relations placed wreaths and flowers to remember loved ones. The Royal Welsh Regiment came to remember the many from the Royal Welsh Fusiliers who died. The Welsh Government laid a wreath from the people of Wales to all those lost. H M Lord Lieutenant of Gwynedd and Anglesey laid a wreath on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen and the British Nation.

Pupils from the six Primary Schools of Holy Island placed remembrance crosses, each one bearing the name of one of the 27 from the town who perished.