After a long and steady strain of duty in the field with the 72 Bn of the Seaforth Highlanders and in hospital work, H/Captain McPhail, from Kingston Ontario and Perth Ontario, was in need of a break. It came in the form of a return trip home as hospital chaplain on the hospital ship, the Llandorvery Castle. The ship was torpedoed and sunk 116 miles off the coast of Ireland. Many were lost onboard and the submarine attempted to ram and shell the lifeboats. Only 24, including one officer, survived. It was reported that the coolness of the officers, the fourteen nursing sisters and the chaplain was heroic. There was no panic. Captain McPhail “played the man” in those brief minutes of tragedy and peril. His body washed up in France and he was buried in Lampaul Churchyard, Ile D’quassant France on 1 September 1918.