A TOWN has mourned the loss of 27 of its former residents 100 years to the day they died in one of the worst maritime disasters in the Irish Sea.

A special commemoration service for the RMS Leinster

was held at St Cybi’s Church in Holyhead, followed by a wreathlaying ceremony at the town’s cenotaph yesterday (Wednesday).

The service marked the terrible loss of life when the Royal Mail boat, the RMS Leinster, was sank by German U-boat 123 on October 10, 1918.

A reception was also held afterwards at St Mary’s Catholic

church hall, attended by VIPs, dignitaries, clergy and local


They met up with members of the families who had lost relatives in the tragedy. Many had come from across Britain to attend the ceremony.

The ship operated between Dun Laoghaire (then called Kingstown) and Holyhead and went down just outside Dublin Bay en route to Anglesey.

It was operated by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, and a total of 560 people died.

As the Anglesey service got under way, a similar service was

also happening in Dun Laoghaire. 

Hundreds of people crowded into St Cybi’s Church for an

ecumenical service, in both English and Welsh.

There was prayers, hymns, and

music during the service led by the Arch Deacon, the Venerable Andrew Herrick of the St Cybi Parish. Other clergy from throughout Holyhead also led prayers and took part in readings.

There was also music from the Anglesey-based Magee brothers,who had written a special song, The Ballad of the RMS Leinster, and children from Ysgol Morswyn choir sang Rhown Gân o Ddiolch.

Holyhead schoolchildren also laid crosses at the cenotaph – one for each of the 27 who died. Amongst the VIPs and dignitaries paying respects were Lord Dafydd Ellis-Thomas, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, on behalf of the First Minister, who laid a wreath on behalf of the Welsh Government; the Lord Lieutenant of Gwynedd and Anglesey Edmund Bailey; High Sheriff of Gwynedd and Anglesey Katherine Griffiths; Mayor of Holyhead Cllr Keith Thomas; former mayor Cllr Ann Kennedy, who gave a reading in church; and chairman of the Isle of Anglesey County Council

Cllr Dylan Rees. There were also representatives from all the three forces, as well as Barry Hillier, who is a trustee of the Holyhead Maritime Museum and organiser RMS Leinster Centenary Commemoration Group (Holyhead) event.

MP Albert Owen and AM Rhun Ap Iorweth, were unable to attend. They sent their apologies and representatives.

The service followed a week-long programme of events in the town to mark the anniversary.

The RMS Leinster Centenary Commemoration Group in Holyhead is made up of the Holyhead Maritime

Museum, Holyhead Heritage Group and other individuals and is chaired by Cllr Kennedy They organised the ceremony and other events including a sea wreaththrowing ceremony on Saturday, a musical evening, dinner, talks, and historical displays.

Cllr Rees said: “It was a very moving and poignant service and I am sure there wasn’t anyone present who could not have been touched by this very special commemoration.”

Cllr Thomas said: “It was a lovely service and pitched just right. Thanks to everyone who took part and to the

organisers. It was very well done.” Mr Hillier said: “It went very smoothly, we are delighted with how well it went. Even the sun shone.

“Some have said it must have been helped by our late friend, John Cave, of the maritime museum, who used

to organise everything. People were saying he must have had a hand in the weather. Who am I to argue?”

“We managed to track down about 80 relatives from the ship – and it has been very interesting to meet them

and hear their stories.” 

One of the relatives, Ken Surgey, had travelled from Bath to be at the event. His grandfather was Edward Salisbury

Moors a 48-year-old engine steward, who died in the disaster. 

“My mother, Elizabeth Mary Moors, was 19 when she heard that her dad had died. She was working on a farm and had to run and tell her mother. 

“It was a terrible for them. There were nine children left without a father. It’s been a wonderful to come Norman Williams, from Valley, whose grandad was Edward Salisbury Moors NRMS Leinster was sunk by a U-boat and 560 lives lost here and meet some of the other relatives and the service was very good.”

Norman Williams, Mr Surgey’s cousin, who lives in Valley was also the grandson of Edward Salisbury Moors.

He said: “The service was excellent. I think Barry did a fantastic job. The weather was beautiful, just,right – not

like it was 100 years ago. There had been storms that week."