Thomas Murray Macfarlane captain of HMHS Leinster?

February 06, 2010

Subject: HMHS Leinster

Hi Mac,

I noticed on your 'Ahoy' webpage a number of enquiries regarding the ship HMHS Leinster. I just wondered if your correspondents were aware of a book called "The Ships of Youth" written by Geraldine Edge and Mary E Johnston and published in March 1945. The book, subtitled 'The Experiences of Two Army Nursing Sisters on board the Hospital Carier Leinster', is a graphic account of those on board HMHS Leinster from her commission in Greenock to the Anzio landings in Italy (where she was bombed). No names are used in the book, I assume wartime censorship, but it does describe the life of all aboard.

My interest in the ship is that my Great Uncle Thomas Murray Macfarlane was reputed to be the captain of the ship - although I can find no official record of this, either for the ships service, war or peacetime. However, what the family does have is a photograph of the ship being launched - in Belfast I beleive. I have attached a copy for your information.

I hope those interested in the ship find the book as
informative and moving
as I did.

Regards to all

Iain Macfarlane
Brighton UK


See this URL: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22978405@N07/ for some photos of Leinster including her Captain, an Engineer, two Doctors, and nurses.

Hope they are of interest for you.

I was based in Brighton in 1941 to attend my Sub Lieutenant's Torpedo course, at Rodean Girl's school, taken over by the Royal Navy for their Torpedo School, moved out of Portsmouth by the intensity of German Bomber raids, we were accommodated in a hotel on the seafront that had several floors knocked off by an air raid there.

The Captain was concerned that there were still some senior girls at the school, and suggested to the Head Mistress she move them out before the Sailors arrived.

Oh! don't worry she said my girls have it all up here, tapping her head.

The Naval Captain replied.:" Madam, it matters not where your girls have it, I can assure you my Sailors will find it."

I attended the first course at Rodean, and there were still notices saying " Should you need a Mistress during the night, please ring." We rang long and hard, alas no response.

Just a little nostalgia from the past, forgive my indulgence please.

Best regards,

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