Later this year marks the centenary of the sinking of the RMS Leinster, the Dun Laoghaire mailboat but just over a year and a half before the sinking of the Leinster, her lesser known sister ship RMS Connaught was also tragically stuck down by a u-boat in the English Channel.
RMS Connaught was one of four steamers named after the four provinces of Ireland and operated by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company for the Royal Mail Service. She was built in 1897 and was the second ship to carry the name. Like the Leinster she regularly carried mail and ferried passengers from Carlisle pier in Dun Laoghaire to Admiralty pier at Holyhead.
During the First World War the Connaught was commandeered by the British War Office and pressed into service, carrying troops from Southampton to the France.
On 3rd March 1917 while returning to Southampton from Le Havre she was sunk for a German submarine U-48. A first torpedo stuck the ship, killing three crewmen. The rest of the crew, many of whom were Irish, managed to escape on lifeboats before a second torpedo stuck, sinking the ship within four minutes.
Tragically two of the survivors Joseph Inglis and Denis Whelan, both from Dublin, lost their lives a year later when the Leinster was sunk.