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Cobh Born Titanic Victim To Be remembered



On Sunday 11th April, ninety eight years after the Titanic called to Cobh on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, all of those who died when the ship ran into trouble and sank will be remembered at a commemoration to be held in her last port of call. One hundred and twenty three passengers boarded the ship in Queenstown, which at the time was the largest and most luxurious ocean liner afloat. Three days later the ship struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank with the loss of over 1500 lives, including 79 of those who boarded in Cobh.

The prayer, hymn and wreath laying ceremony will commence at the Titanic Memorial in Pearse Square at 2.30 pm and will be followed by the ceremonial placing of a wreath in the sea by the Mayor of Cobh, Cllr. Paddy Whitty in honour of all those who lost their lives when the Titanic sank. Members of the Irish Lebanese Cultural Foundation will also remember the 154 Lebanese passengers who boarded in Cherbourg of which only 29 were saved. Of special significance this year will be the remembrance for the first time ever of Cobh native, Able Seaman Lionel Leonard who perished when the Titanic sank. It is hoped that Pat Toms who now lives in Bangor, Co. Down will lay a wreath at the Titanic memorial in memory of his grandfather.

The story of Lionel Leonard is stranger than fiction. He was born in Queenstown in 1876 and was christened Andrew Shannon in St. Colman’s Cathedral. At the age of 16 he went to England and joined the Royal Navy. He went absent from the Royal Navy in 1908 and married Annie Matilda Gould in Poole, Dorset the same year. In 1912 and having become a US citizen and changing his name to Lionel Leonard to work in the merchant fleet, he was a quartermaster on the SS Philadelphia of the American Line. Because of a miners’ strike the Philadelphia’s passage to New York was cancelled and Lionel Leonard was instructed to sail to New York on the Titanic. He traveled as a third class passenger (ticket number 370160) along with four fellow United States Line employees. His body if recovered was never identified.

The ceremony in Cobh is organised by Cobh Tourism. A Colour Party from the Cobh Branch O.N.E. will officiate and representatives from Titanic and Historical Societies as well as Civic leaders will attend. Musical honours will be provided by the Commodore Male Voice Choir and Cobh Confraternity Band. The proceedings will conclude with a bugler playing the Last Post and Reveille.

Members of the public are encouraged to attend.
Further information from:
Hendrick Verwey
Chairman Cobh Tourism
Tel 087 2593850

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