Australian diplomat remembers HMS Laurentic dead

Visit cements relationships between Donegal and Australia

Australian diplomat remembers HMS Laurentic dead

Robert Owen Jones, Head of Mission for Australian Embassy laying a wreath at St Mura's Fahan. Also: Cllr Albert Doherty and Fiona Doherty, Development Officer, Donegal County Council

A wreath laying ceremony in memory of two Australian seamen who perished on the HMS Laurentic has taken place at St Mura's Church of Ireland in Fahan.

Mr. F.A. Sheedy and Mr. Francis Leonard Royle died when HMS   Laurentic  was sunk off Lough Swilly on January 25, 1917.

The memorial ceremony in Fahan, which was attended by Mr Robert Owen-Jones, Head of Mission and Chargé d'Affaires for the Australian Embassy in Ireland, took place on June 30. A large Celtic Cross marks the mass grave in which many of the Laurentic's passengers and crew now rest.

Mr Jones was accompanied to the Mass grave by Councillor Albert Doherty Cathaoirleach of Inishowen Municipal District and  Fiona Doherty, Development Officer, Donegal County Council.

Following the poignant event, Mr Jones extended his thanks to Cllr Doherty for his “lovely trip to Donegal.”

Mr Jones added: “I appreciate you taking the time to assist me making it a success. Visiting Donegal has reinforced to me that the relationship between Ireland and Australia has never been stronger. 

“Thank you both for meeting us and for helping us to lay a remembrance wreath in St Mura's Church of Ireland. Thank you also for the tour of the old cemetery and highlighting the beautiful Celtic cross history. We wish you the best of luck with the cemeteries rejuvenation project. 

“I look forward to further relations between Australia and Donegal in the future.”

Mr Owen-Jones took up his position as Head of Mission and Chargé d'Affaires for the Australian Embassy in Ireland in 2020. He is an experienced career diplomat with more than 30 years international service, including diplomatic postings to Manila, Moscow, Paris, Bonn and Washington. He served also as Chargé d'Affaires in Lisbon for Portugal and Port Louis for Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles.

Cllr Doherty said during the visit he also highlighted and shared the significance and impact of a No Deal Brexit on regions like the North West of Ireland.

He added: “I also acknowledged the number of Irish people who had emigrated in the recent past to Australia to work and to live there, as well as the importance of maintaining and building strong and cordial relations between Donegal and Australia.”

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