New book features sinking of ‘Kilcoan’

Matt Maginnis, author, of

Matt Maginnis, author, of "Mourne Men and the U Boats" pictured at the U19 gun in Ward Park, Bangor. INLT 46-662-CON

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A story of survival has inspired a new book which features a Larne vessel sank during World War I.

“Mourne Men and the U Boats” was written by Matt Maginnis. from Kilkeel, whose grandfather Charles, a merchant seaman, had been a crew member on board the “Kilcoan” steamer.

The “Kilcoan” was sunk by the U21 in 1915. Its crew was from Islandmagee, Kilkeel and Belfast.

His grandfather’s account prompted Matt to research the official reports about German U-Boat attacks in the Irish Sea between 1915 - 1918.

His book is mainly about Mourne merchant seamen and fishermen who encountered U-Boats during the First World War.

Other chapters include the attacks on the SS Downshire, from Dundrum, the Edith and Earnest schooners, from Kilkeel, the UB64 attack on the County Down fishing boats, in 1918, and the tragic loss of the SS Dundalk near the end of the war.

Members of seafaring families such as Meneely; Niblock; Connor; Doyle; Ferguson; McKee; Maginnis; Kerr; McKibbin and O’Neill are included along with many others on the crew lists.

Matt says he hopes that his book is a “fitting tribute to the courage and tenacity of these men during the dawn of a new type of warfare”.

This fully illustrated book will appeal to those interested in family and maritime history.

It is now available for sale in bookshops at £12 or from the author: -

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