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Forgotten victim of the sinking of RMS Lusitania

Many stories will be retold in relation to the torpedo attack on the RMS Lusitania on May 7, 1915, which had its 100th anniversary yesterday (DebateNI, May 6).

One worth telling is that of Jerome B Murphy who, as the Cunard Line manager in Cobh, Co Cork, did everything he could to help the survivors and the victims.

His great-granddaughter Bayveen O'Connell recently wrote of the impact it had on him. She thought of two words about his experience - brave and alone.

On hearing of the attack he asked the Admiralty to send their ships in Cobh to help the liner. They did not do so, possibly wary of a submarine attack.

It was boats from Cobh, Kinsale and other areas which went to their aid and picked up survivors from the lifeboats and the sea.

He arranged medical help for the injured and ordered coffins for the dead. There was much to do. He had to identify more than 160 deceased passengers.

In 1918 he reluctantly went to London to receive an MBE and then went missing.

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He was found weeks later in Manchester, in the first throes of alcoholism.

His children kept contact with him until his death in 1944. He lies at rest in the same Cobh cemetery as the Lusitania victims.

Perhaps he was a Lusitania casualty, too.


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