DIVISIONAL UNIT: 1st Canadian Infantry Division
1st Infantry Brigade
4th Battalion - Central Ontario
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 3135908
RESIDENCE: Lucknow – Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH: February 9, 1895
St. Augustine - West Wawanosh Township – Huron County - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: October 10, 1918 23 years 8 months
CEMETERY: Granegorman Military Cemetery – Dublin
County Dublin – Republic of Ireland
PARENTS: Thomas Finleon and his wife Matilda Devereaux – Auburn – Ontario
BROTHER: Joseph Finleon – Lucknow - Ontario
Occupation: Farmer Religion: Roman Catholic
Enlistment: London – May 17, 1918
Enlistment Age: 23 years 3 months
Private Finleon was conscripted into the Canadian Corps very late into the conflict in London, Ontario. Upon his enlistment, he was sent to the 4th Canadian Reserve Battalion.
He left Canada on HMT Pannonia on July 26, 1918 and arrived in England on August 16, 1918 and he was immediately sent to the 4th Reserve Battalion based at Camp Witley - Surrey.
Private Finleon was aboard the Irish Mail Steamer named the RMS Leinster during the night of October 10, 1918 when the German submarine UB-123 engaged her. She was torpedoed and sank with the loss of 500 lives including Private Finleon and other personnel from the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Flying Corps along with workers from the postal service. The Leinster was a British registered steamer weighing 2,646 tons.
The attack took place in the Irish Sea 7 miles ESE of the Kish Light Vessel enroute from Dublin to Holy Head.
UB-123 fired one torpedo which damaged the mail room on the port side causing the Leinster to begin sinking by the bow. The captain of the Leinster then reversed course and tried to get his wounded ship back to port when a second torpedo struck the port side and this explosion quickly sank the vessel.
The Leinster had a crew of 77 and 694 passengers on for a total of 771 and 500 of these lost their lives.
Following the torpedoing of the Leinster, UB-123 began her trip to the port of Zeebrugge when she apparently struck a mine barrage that stretched from Scotland to Norway and she sank with all hands.
It was reported by G.O.C. Irish Command that Private Finleon was listed as missing and believed drowned. His body was eventually recovered. Private Finleon had been on furlough to Ireland.
He is listed on the Roll of Honour for Ontario Teachers as he had his Second Class Teaching Certificate and taught at Sioux Lookout in northern Ontario.