The RMS Leinster Disaster by Philip Lecane
Periscope Publishing, 2005 (softcover) ISBN 1 904381294 €24
The Leinster wreck is one of the frequently visited east coast dive sites lying 12 miles directly off Dun Laoghaire. Philip brings the people of this wreck to life in his book Torpedoed. The Leinster sank only a few minutes after being struck by a second torpedo fired by UB 123 on 10-10-1918. The official death toll was 501 but Philip’s thorough research has discovered a number of additional victims. This book follows the style of the genealogical type focus an all the people involved in the story similar to the books on the Irish aboard the Titanic and Lusitania, published by Senan Moloney. In this aspect the story and its people come to life and the victims are not just victims or casualties of war or mere numbers in a death toll. The background detail explains a lot about life in Ireland towards the end of the First World War. There are families split by the difficulty in communication. The huge garrison in Ireland post 1916 is a feature in that many of the casualties were garrison troops. The number of Irish involved in the British army during the war is also brought into perspective. The book is well written and is organised into the general story followed by the individual participants. Typesetting might have been a bit more lively and there are many gaps at the end of sections which impede flow. Another interesting book on Ireland and World War One – well worth reading.
reviewed by Eddie Bourke