When she received the news that her son, Seaman John Kenny R.N.R., lost his life on the Laurentic his mother made the arduous journey to Donegal to identify his body and bring his remains home to be buried in Arklow cemetery.
John Kenny was was born at 32 Hudson’s Square, Back street, Arklow, County Wicklow on the 14th of January 1895, the third child of James and Bridget Kenny (née Tracey). His parents married in Monkstown Church, Kingstown, Dublin on the 28th of July 1890. James’ home town was Arklow and Bridget’s was Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire). James was a sailor, as were his father and his father in law.
The couple’s first child, Daniel, was born on the 11th of June 1891 at 15 Sexton’s Cottages, York Road, Kingstown. James must have moved back to Arklow with his young family sometime before the 6th of April 1893 when his second child, James, was born.
The family were still living at 32 Hudson’s Square, Back street, when John’s younger brother Thomas was born on the 2nd of January 1897. James and Bridget’s youngest boy Myles was born on the 18th June 1899 but died of tubercular meningitis in 1905 when he was just 6 years of age. In April 1901 when the census was taken Bridget was at home in Hudson’s Square, Back street with her five sons. Her husband James was probably at sea.
James, Bridget and their four boys were all living together at census time 1911, still at Back street, Arklow. James and his eldest son Daniel were working as sailors, Bridget was looking after the house, James and John were labourers and Thomas was at school.
We don’t know when John Kenny joined the crew of the Laurentic. When the ship was sinking he made it to a lifeboat but like many others froze to death before his boat was found.
The 1914 Star issued was issued to his father in December 1919.
Commonwealth War graves Commission – http://www.cwgc.org
Photographs and other information on John Kenny kindly supplied by Willie Walker, great-nephew of John Heaney, also lost on the Laurentic, and Sarah Dempsey Cashman, granddaughter of Arklow survivor Bill Wolohan.