SS Dundalk torpedoed on return from Liverpool
Dundalk, 22 October 1918 - The SS Dundalk, owned by the Dundalk and Newry Steampacket Company, was sunk on 14 October in yet another German submarine attack in Irish waters.
The vessel left Dundalk for Liverpool two days earlier, carrying a cargo of livestock. Fears for its safety were raised when it failed to arrive home at the expected time, the public concerns heightened by the recent tragedy that befell the RMS Leinster, also in Irish waters.
It is believed that 20 of the crew of 32 have died, including Captain O’Neill, who resided with his wife and four children on Patrick Street, Dundalk. The attack has caused great grief in the town where all the crew and their families are well known.
On the day following the attack, five members of the crew of the SS Dundalk landed at the port of Douglas on the Isle of Man, having been picked up in a lifeboat some hours earlier.
The men, found suffering from injuries and exposure, were in a half-clothed condition having spent 17 hours in heavy seas. They managed to fashion a sail out of an oar and a blanket, which allowed them to run before the wind until they were rescued.
These survivors said that their ship was struck by torpedo at 11.20 pm and sank in just four minutes.
One of the men, Patrick Moonan previously endured the experience of being taken prisoner of war for two months aboard the German commerce raider, Moewe.
At a specially convened meeting of the directors of the Dundalk and Newry Steampacket Company it was decided to subscribe 500 guineas towards the relief and education of the children of the victims. It is understood that that dependents of members of the crew are also partly covered by insurance.
The SS Dundalk was built 25 years ago at a cost of £40,000 and has been well known on both sides of the Irish Sea.
[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]