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  • Southside

Victims of U-Boat attacks to be remembered in Dublin

Friday, 8th September, 2017 1:00pm

Story by Neil Fetherstonhaugh
Victims of U-Boat attacks to be remembered in Dublin

One of the two ships that were lost to German U-Boats.

Victims of U-Boat attacks to be remembered in Dublin

One of the two ships that were lost to German U-Boats.

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FAMILY members of the victims of two U-Boat attacks during the First World War will be joined by the Lord Mayor of Dublin at the unveiling of plaques marking both tragedies later this month.

This year marks the centenary of the loss of two well-known Dublin Port vessels in separate U-Boat attacks.

On December 14, 1917, the SS Hare was struck by a torpedo as it headed into Dublin from Manchester, with the loss of 12 lives.

Barely a fortnight later, the SS Adela was struck as she made her way to Liverpool, with the loss of 24 lives. 

These were both Merchant ships, and the majority of those who died were civilian seamen or cattle workers.

Many of those who died came from the Dockland communities surrounding Dublin Port, and it is believed that only four bodies were recovered in the aftermath of the attacks. 

On Saturday, September, 30, a commemoration event will take place to mark the loss of these vessels and to remember all the victims of the attacks.

Assembling at the Sean O’Casey Bridge (Custom House Quay) at 1pm, an afternoon of commemoration will begin with the unveiling of two plaques along the Quayside, close to the vessels’ Dublin berths before  their final voyages almost a century ago. 

The unveilings will be conducted by relatives of those who lost their lives or suffered in the attacks, accompanied by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mícheál Mac Donncha.

A reception will be held where a photo and memorabilia exhibition will be unveiled and a commemorative booklet launched. 

Afterwards, family members will be sailing from Dublin Port to a short ceremony and wreath laying service at sea. 

The event is being co-ordinated by The Adela-Hare Centenary Commemoration Committee that was established by family members alongside local history and community groups.

A programme of events, from September to December is also planned, and the committee has been supported by the Dublin City Councils Commemorations Fund. 

David Jones, whose great grand-father was aboard the SS Adela said: “In 1917 there were over 150 ships sunk in Irish coastal waters as a result of Submarine attacks.

“These two particular vessels are particularly important due to the heavy loss of life in the relatively small and tight knit communities around Dublin Port.

“A newspaper report from the time estimated that there were up to one hundred dependents left behind by those who perished on the SS Adela.”

Hilary Wallner is the granddaughter of Able Seaman Joseph Hopkins of Pigeon House Road who died aboard the SS Hare.

“It is important to me that my grandfather, Joseph Hopkins, who died in the attack on the SS Hare, is remembered,” she said. “But the trauma and hardship his death led to for the surviving family members must also be acknowledged.

“All the victims must be properly commemorated, and we must also be aware of the long-term effects on those who survived.”

During World War I nearly 5,000 merchant ships were sunk by U-Boats, with the loss of 15,000 Allied sailors lives.

However, by mid-1918, U-Boat losses had reached unacceptable levels, and the morale of their crews had drastically deteriorated. By the autumn it became clear that the Central Powers could not win the war.

The Adela-Hare Centenary Commemoration Committee would like to speak to any other family members of those who lost their lives one hundred years ago. They can be contacted at by email to

A war time poster for the Merchant Marine.

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