RMS Leinster


Minister Hanafin launches RMS Leinster anniversary stamp

A new 55c stamp commemorates the 90th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Leinster, torpedoed by a German U-boat on October 10th, 1918,  one month before the end of World War 1, just 12 miles out from Dun Laoghaire harbour (then Kingstown).

Mary Hanafin TD, Minister for Social and Family Affairs officially launched the stamp in the Assembly Hall of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council at an event attended by Cathaoirleach Denis O’Callaghan, descendants of some of those who lost their lives and several Irish and Holyhead-based maritime groups with a particular interest in the Leinster.

Speaking at the launch of the stamp, Minister Hanafin said “I would like to welcome relatives of those people who lost their lives aboard the RMS Leinster 90 years ago, especially those who have travelled from Wales to be here.  I am very familiar with the tragic story of the RMS Leinster and I am reminded of it each time I see the Leinster’s anchor facing Carlisle Pier in Dún Laoghaire harbour".

Minister Hanafin went on to say “The sinking of the RMS Leinster involved the greatest loss of life ever in the Irish Sea and it was a disaster of truly international proportions.  People from Ireland, Wales, England, Scotland, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand lost their lives that day”.

The Minister concluded “It is appropriate that there have been several events in Dún Laoghaire over the years to commemorate the sinking of the RMS Leinster and I am proud to be involved in remembering those who lost their lives on this, the 90th anniversary, by unveiling this commemorative stamp”.

501 people lost their lives when the Leinster sank, the greatest ever loss of life on the Irish Sea. All but one of the 22 Postal Sorters on board perished. The route between Dun Laoghaire and Holyhead had been the principal one for passengers and mails between Britain and Ireland since the sixteenth century. 

Designed by the renowned Irish illustrator Vincent Killowry, with typography and layout by Steve Simpson, the new stamp features a very striking original drawing of the RMS Leinster with one of her anchors in the foreground.  310,000 of the new stamp, and a special First Day Cover envelope, go on sale today at www.irishstamps.ie at the GPO and other main post offices and by phone at (01) 705 7400.

Local man and historian, Philip Lecane, author of Torpedoed! The RMS Leinster Disaster is actively seeking out descendents of people who perished on the Leinster in advance of a special anniversary service to be held in October. Visit www.rmsleinster.com for further information and contact details.