ALSO THE STORY OF 14 YEAR OLD THOMAS WOODGATE
There is now a Tommy Woodgate Memorial sculpture in Kilkenny but I will discuss this if a future post.
I originally photographed this memorial a few weeks after it was unveiled in 2018 but I was not happy with the photographs so I returned again in 2019 but I had a very bad fall down the full length of the step near/or leading leading to the memorial.
This memorial in the Kilkenny Peace Park commemorates the residents of Kilkenny County who gave their lives in the Great War (World War I)
When the ‘Kilkenny great war memorial committee’ unveiled this memorial at Kilkenny’s Peace Park in 2018, one of the prayers on the day was for the continuation of world peace.
The Great War was into its fourth year when young Thomas (Tommy) Woodgate from Mill Street in Callan, Co Kilkenny, joined the Royal Flying Corps, becoming private second class 297699.
Second youngest of the seven children of Edward and Honora Woodgate, Tommy was attached to the 23rd Training Squadron when the Royal Flying Corps joined forces with the Royal Naval Air Service to form the Royal Air Force.
About six months later, on October 10th, 1918, and just 32 days before the Armistice brought an end to hostilities, Tommy was returning to duty from leave when he boarded the RMS Leinster at Carlisle Pier, Kingstown, (now Dún Laoghaire), to make his way to Holyhead.
Besides Woodgate, there were 500 other military. In addition, the RMS Leinster had 76 crew and 180 civilians including children, 22 postal workers.
Sixteen miles into the journey, the ship was hit by two torpedoes. One hit on the port side, prompting the crew to turn back towards Kingstown. However, a third torpedo then hit the starboard side, “almost blowing the ship to pieces,” according to a contemporary account.
Five hundred and one people lost their lives, including Woodgate whose body was recovered. He was buried at Grangegorman Military Cemetery in Dublin.
His date of birth, 31-12-1903, makes him one of the youngest of the Allied forces to be killed by enemy fire during the first World War. He is one of 827 Irish men named on a new war memorial in Kilkenny city, honouring all those from the county who lost their lives during the 1914-1918 conflict.