W.D.Birch

Dublin Core

Title

W.D.Birch

Subject

Capt. WILLIAM D BIRCH
Master, Mercantile Marine

Description

CAPTAIN WILLIAM D BIRCH
Master, Mercantile Marine
Missing, presumed drowned 10th October 1918.
Commemorated: Tower Hill Memorial, London.

School: remembered on School Memorial but connection with school currently un-proven.
Born 1857, Birch received an expression of commendation for carrying on the trade of the country in the war. He was listed as being on Australian transport since 1914, but missing since 1918. He was Master of “RMS Leinster” on 10th October 1918 when it was sunk by U-123. It was a 2,646 tons vessel carrying 771 men, women and children, including the crew, civilian passengers and 492 soldiers and sailors returning from Ireland on leave. The ship, belonging to the City of Dublin Steam packet Company left Kingstown Pier, now Dun Laoghaire, for Holyhead. She had already been attacked on 27th December 1917 by a submarine whose torpedo had missed and was, since that incident armed with a single 12-pounder.
An hour out, the ship was struck without warning by a torpedo from submarine UB 123. A second torpedo struck her a few minutes later. The engine room was blown out and she sank 13 minutes after the first impact. Lifeboats were launched and SOS messages sent. After an hour two old destroyers,plus other craft arrived and saved some of the Leinster’s passengers and crew, but 501 lost their lives out of 771. Birch’s body was never recovered.

Creator

YG