Irish Solicitor Efficiently Rescued After Falling Off Dublin-Holyhead Ferry mid-Channel, 1932

From the Belfast Telegraph, 26 October 1932:

Passengers on the RMS Scotia from Dun Laoghaire (Kingstown) to Holyhead on Tuesday night witnessed the rescue of an Irish solicitor, Mr O’Connor.  It appears that somewhere about mid-channel he fell overboard.  The ship was stopped and one of the lifeboats lowered, and after a time Mr O’Connor was got safely into the lifeboat.  After the lifeboat was hoisted up the vessel proceeded on her way to Holyhead.

The Scotia was travelling about 23 knots at the time.  The cry of the man was distinctly heard by the other passengers when he fell overboard.  They expressed admiration of the smart manner in which the situation was handled by the captain and crew of the vessel.”

The decks of Dublin-Holyhead ferries were notoriously unsafe – one hopes that the development of the tort of negligence on foot of the House of Lords’ decision in Donoghue v Stevenson the previous May led to safety precautions being taken to prevent further accidents!

The year after Mr O’Connor’s narrow escape, an English solicitor, Mr Paterson of Portsmouth, was also rescued after falling overboard a steam launch plying between Portsea and Gosport. Both he and Mr O’Connor were luckier than WB Pice, rising London barrister of the Inner Temple, who drowned when he fell overboard from a P & O steamer between Gibraltar and Marseilles in 1906, or indeed Irish barrister JS Barrett, who disappeared from sight into the waters of the South Quebec Docks in 1873 while in the course of helping a lady passenger with her luggage.

The SS Scotia (above) ended her days as HM Transport Scotia at Dunkirk in 1940.

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Author: Ruth Cannon BL

Irish barrister sharing the history of the Four Courts, Dublin, Ireland, and other Irish courts.

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