TWO Donegal men whose lives were linked by a series of remarkable coincidences are to be remembered at a special Mass next week, a century after they perished side by side at sea.
Daniel Boyle and Daniel Boyle were childhood friends with the same name yet totally unrelated. They were the same age and grew up near each other – one in Bunbeg and one in Derrybeg.
One of the Daniels was the son of Ned and Rose Boyle (nee Sweeney) of Upper Dore while the other was the son of John and Margaret Boyle (nee O’Donnell) of Middle Dore.
In their late teens the boys decided to head for Glasgow to pursue a career as sailors. But within months of climbing aboard the SS Tuscania they were both dead, lost when the luxury liner was bombed by a German U-boat on February 5, 1918.
As well as crew members Boyle, 208 passengers met their deaths at the hands of U-Boat UB-77.
The Tuscania departed New Jersey on January 24 with 384 crew members and 2,013 USA army personnel on board.
On the morning of February 5, 1918 the liner turned south down into the North Channel bound for Liverpool.
Following the outbreak of World War One Germany had initiated a submarine campaign against merchant shipping in waters around the UK.
UB-77 stalked the Tuscania as it made for Liverpool and at 6.40pm on February 5, the order was given to fire two torpedoes.
The ship was struck roughly eight miles off Rathlin Island, sending her to the bottom of the Irish Sea within hours.
While 210 people lost their lives, many others were rescued by the Royal Navy destroyers Mosquito and Pigeon.
The two Daniel Boyles, both aged 19, went down with the Tuscania. Their bodies were never recovered.
One of the few records of them is on the Tower Hill Memorial in London which commemorates almost 36,000 merchants who have no known grave.
Next month events will be held around the world to remember those who died when the Tuscania sank.
On February 2, approaching the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the liner, a Mass will be said in Derrybeg Church for the two Daniel Boyles.
It has been organised by one of the men’s nephews, John McFadden. His mother Annie was Daniel’s sister.
Mr McFadden said his uncle was just 18 when he took up his role as a trimmer aboard the ship while the other Daniel was slightly older. He too worked as a trimmer on the Tuscania.
“It is a coincidence that the two boys had the same name and they lived about 500 yards from each other. We asked for the Mass because it is a hundred years since the boat went down and we just want to remember them,” said Mr McFadden.
The men will be remembered at Mass in Derrybeg Church at 7pm on February 2.
Posted: 7:00 pm January 27, 2018