Thursday 18 October 2018

100 years since sinking of ship

Next Friday marks the centenary of the sinking of the SV Lapwing on voyage from Waterford to Cardiff which went down on November 10 1917 after being sunk by a German submarine.

It was recorded that five hands on board the Lapwing got into a lifeboat but were never seen again.

Amongst the five people missing were three members of the Kearon family.

Now Stephen Kearon of Ballinaclash has been tracing relatives to invite them to attend Woodenbridge Memorial next Saturday, November 11, at 2 p.m..

Stephen's Grandfather's two brothers and father were among the five whose lives were lost.

Joseph Kearon was the 65 year old Master of SV Lapwing. He was a Mercantile Marine and was the son of the late Edward and Catherine Kearon, of Meadows Lane, Arklow. He was the husband of Frances Kearon, of Kylemore, Arklow.

Also on board were his sons 19-year-old Mate Edward Kearon ad 17-year-old Ordinary Seaman George Kearon.

It is thought that the SV Lapwing was sunk by gunfire from the German submarine U-95, and Stephen has been carrying out his own research.

'Interestingly there are also reports of them being killed the following day off the east coast of England, when the SS Lapwing hit a mine left by another German sub, but I suspect the confusion came from the two vessels being the same name.'

Also lost at sea were Patrick Merrigan, a 23-year-old from New Ross, Wexford, and 18 year old George Tyrell of Halls Lane, Arklow.

Stephen explains further: 'the U-95 carried out five patrols, starting May 24 1917 until January 16 1918 when it was sunk off Hardelot, France with the loss of all 43 hands.

'It sunk 14 ships and damaged three during these patrols. It's Captain was Athalwin Prinz . The wreck was identified in the 1990s and it is lying in 40m of water mainly intact. Its hatches are closed, and periscopes retracted so it appears to have sunk when submerged. There is huge damage around where the torpedo room was, so the divers concluded one of its torpedoes must have malfunctioned and sunk the sub.

'Coincidentally my own two sons, Saoirse and Oisin, are aged 19 and 17, the same ages Edward and George were when they died 100 years ago.'

All members of the Kearon family are invited to attend Saturday's event taking place in the Woodenbridge Memorial Park, where Joseph, Edward and George Kearon are remembered.

Stephen can be contacted via, or twitter @skearon.

Wicklow People