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Holyhead and the Royal Mail Ship LEINSTER

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The mail and ferry services working between Ireland and Wales became a special target for German submarines from 1917 onwards, because the ships began to transport large numbers of military personnel. The LEINSTER was owned by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company (CoDSPCo) which had transported mail between Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire) and Holyhead since 1850. Consequently, a special connection had developed between the two ports by the crews supplied for the company’s fleet of vessels. There are entries in the LEINSTER’s log noting previous U-boat encounters, for example ‘Night Sailing. December 27, 1917. Torpedo missed by yards’. The LEINSTER left Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire) for Holyhead for the last time on 10 October 1918, to be sunk soon after by UB 123. The LEINSTER’s sinking was a great loss for both maritime communities.

This tribute was suggested by Barry Hillier. In association with Holyhead Maritime Museum.