A girl from Donegal. Great war record.

A girl from Donegal. Great war record.

This week, looking through some records and following on from last time’s piece on Donegal. We should remember everyone who was a part of the Great War. I thought I would stay in Donegal.

 Off I went on the search in the National Archive Discovery. (Archives, no date b)

By Unknown author – http://media.iwm.org.uk/iwm/mediaLib//341/media-341958/large.jpgThis is photograph Q 68242 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30832275

So here is Miss Annie Brogan in the War Office: Women’s (later Queen Mary’s) Army Auxiliary Corps: Service Records, First World War.(Archives, no date a)

She applied on 5th September 1917.

Her personnel number was 38873.

Her permanent home address was Ray, Rathmullan, Co. Donegal Ireland.

She was born on 24 October 1898.

She was single.

She was 5 feet 5 1/4 inches tall.

Of average build.

She had Blue grey eyes.

She had mid brown hair.

Her next of kin was her mother also Annie Brogan of Ray, Rathmullan, Co. Donegal.

Annie had applied to the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. The form she applied on stated “No woman need apply who is not prepared to offer her services for the duration of the war and to take up work wherever she is required.”

When she applied, she was living at Teneriffe Bungalow, Foulridge, Colne, Lancashire.

She was offering her services as a ‘plain cook or waitress’.

Willing to serve at home or abroad. Could give two days notice from her present job.

She gave her background, her father was Irish from Rathmullan, he was a sailor, a captain in the employ of the Lough Swilly Steamboat Co.

She had attended Brownknowe National School, Co. Donegal and left at 12 reaching 7th standard.

She had to supply two references one of whom had to be a woman, both had to be British householders, not related to her. Including if possible: Previous employer, Teacher, Town Councillor, Mayor or Provost, Justice of the Peace, Minister of Religion, Doctor or Solicitor.

Her references were from:

Mrs. Susan Hartley, Teneriffe Bungalow, Foulridge, Colne.

James McCay Esq., Gents. Outfitter, [London]derry.

In her application Colne employment exchange noted she was very bright and capable, of pleasant appearance and eager to serve. A very good type. They received her application on 7th Sept 1917, Elizabeth Foley was the person dealing with it, she forwarded it to Warrington on 27th September 1917.

Ms Foley wrote

“Miss A. Brogan says there were no prominent people in the village she was brought up in except the priest (he has left recently) and the doctor and she never needed him. Her present employer Mrs. Hartley is a former Mayoress of Colne, and both verbally and in writing has spoken highly of her”.

Elizabeth Foley also noted she seemed a strong healthy girl. Pleasant in manner in every way.

The following letter of reference from Mrs. Hartley. Attached to the personnel document.

“Dear Madam,

Miss Annie Brogan who is employed by me as a cook has applied for service with the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in France.  I can assure you she is thoroughly capable and domesticated, honesty and trustworthy, and of a kind and gentle disposition and suitable in every way for the position she applys (sic JC) for. She is very keen on this work and anxious to do her bit and I have encouraged her as I believe it to be the duty of every woman to help the men who are fighting and striving to win this most terrible war. If you see fit to appoint her to this post, I feel sure she will give satisfaction.

Yours sincerely (Mrs) Susan Hartley.”

Reference from Dr. Dickey, Market Street Colne.

He had filled a form in:

“Miss Annie Brogan, Teneriffe Bungalow, Foulridge.

Known her for 1 year as Panel Doctor.

Strong healthy and active.

Steady Reliable Thoroughly trustworthy. Fit to be trusted with confidential information. A British subject, parents are Irish, she is single.

Signed by A. A. G. Dickey MD

 Physician and Surgeon.”

Reference from James McCay Esq. Gents Outfitter Duke St. Londonderry.

He had filled a form in:

“Knew her for 2 months to May 1915. He stated “this girl was in my employment as domestic servant about the times above, stated I knew nothing about her before or after she seemed a nice quiet girl. Was born in Ireland as far as I know. Parents were Irish as far as I know. Signed James McCay, Merchant.”

Next the medical check.

Miss Annie Brogan No. 38873.

Date of birth 19th (wrong date written) October. Place Co. Donegal, Ireland.

Living at Teneriffe Bungalow, Colne Lancs.

Proposed occupation.  Waitress.

Not previously medically examined for service.

General health questions.

No serious illness, had Measles as a child, tonsils removed (last July).

Never absent from work for more than one month at a time.

Never fitted or fainted.

Never ‘spat’ blood.

Has regular periods, date of last period 19th April, period does not interfere with work.

Signed Annie Brogan 1st May 1919.

Medial history: Grade A.

Physical exam.

Height 5ft 5 1/4 in.

Weight 10 stone 6 lbs.

Eyes 6/6 both, no glasses.

Hearing good.

Teeth 2 caries lower jaw.

3 vaccination marks right arm.

Chest measurement 32 inches expansion 2 inches.

Overall health: Grade A

Declared fit. 1st May 1918.

Record of service.

53rd Welch regiment Kimmel Park 5 June 1918. Waitress.

Date of discharge 27 March 1919, Bostall Heath, Discharged as surplus to requirements.

Offences card:

29 Jan 1919. Overstaying leave 12 Jan 1919 – 22 Jan 1919. Fine 2/6 Forfeits 11 days pay.

Active service card.

8th May 1918 Depot Hostel Chadderton.

5th June 1918 Chadderton Posted to 53rd. Y.S Welsh Regt. Kimmel Park.

Leave granted 19 Oct to 1 Nov 1918, to Shoreham by sea.

Leave granted 31 Dec 1918 to 11 Jan 1919 absence 11 Jan to 22 Jan 1919 fined 2/6, had been to Shoreham by sea.

Leave granted 7 March 1919 to 13 March 1919. Shoreham by sea.

23 April 1919 transferred to Q.M A.A.C depot Bostal Heath.

Finally a list of her uniform items she had signed for:

Badges, Hat 1

Coat, Frock 1

Collars 3

Gaiters pairs 1

Greatcoat 1

Hat, Felt 1

Overalls 4

Shoes pairs 1

Stockings pairs 2

Brassards 1

Caps 4.

All this information was gleaned from her record held in The National Archive.

So now I have a snapshot of a young woman from Donegal. The National Archives’ reference WO 398/29/9.

I wanted to find out a bit more so here is her birth record, transcribed by me.

On 24th October 1898 at Ray, Rathmullan, Co.Donegal. Annie a Female, her father is Edward Brogan of Ray, mother Annie Brogan formerly McHenry, father is a Sailor, informant Ellen McHenry, mother’s sister who was present at birth, registered 3rd November 1898. At Ramelton, Milford, Co. Donegal. By John Patterson.(Irish Genealogy, no date)

Three years later the 1901 census for Rathmullan, Co. Donegal, Ireland, with her mother and grandparents: (National Archives: Census of Ireland 1901, no date a)

Edward Brogan 71, Head of family, R.C. Read and write, Fisherman born Co. Donegal.

Grace Brogan 72, Wife, R.C. Cannot read, born Co. Donegal.

Annie Brogan 28 Daughter in Law, R.C. Read and write, married born Co. Donegal.

Annie Brogan 2, grand daughter, R.C. born Co. Donegal.

Edward Brogan 5 months, grandson, R.C. born Co. Donegal.

The land was owned Rt. Revd. A. Delap of Valentia Island.

Now to 1911 census at the same place: (National Archives: Census of Ireland 1911, no date b)

Edward Brogan Head, R.C. Read and write, 47, Master Mariner, married born Co. Donegal.

Annie Brogan wife, R.C. Read and Write, 37, married 14 years, 7 children born all living still, born Co Antrim.

Annie Brogan 12, Daughter, Roman Catholic born Co Donegal, Scholar Read and write

Edward Brogan 10, Son, Roman Catholic born Co Donegal, Scholar, Read and write

John Brogan 9, Son, Roman Catholic born Co Donegal, Scholar, Read and write

Mary Grace Brogan 8, Daughter, Roman Catholic, born Co Donegal, Scholar, Read and write.

Ellen Palmer Brogan 6, Daughter, Roman Catholic, born Co Donegal, Scholar, Read and write.

Charles Brogan 5, Son, Roman Catholic, born Co Donegal, Scholar, Read and write.

Isabella Brogan 3, Daughter, Roman Catholic, born Co Donegal, Cannot read.

My next Genealogy move would be to find the marriage record for Edward and Annie, the parents.

From the birth record above her mother’s name was Annie McHenry, the informant was Ellen McHenry, looking at the other records for the children recorded in 1911 census some children’s records said the mother was Annie McKendrick, however the informant was a Rose McBride who was not able to sign the document, the last child Isabella’s entry states the mother’s name was McHenry the informant was mother herself, Annie Brogan. Two different maiden names recorded, I would take the sister and mother’s word for it. It is always worth double checking.

However, with cursory searches I can’t find the marriage record of Edward Brogan and Annie McHenry, it would have been around 1897 if the 1911 census information is taken as correct.

That will be for another time, it is outside the time I have set for this blog. Another lesson to be taken is stick to time limits, it is easy to get bogged down.

But now there is a biography and the start of family tree for a young woman from a place I know well.

Follow the clues and check everything.


Archives, T.N. (no date a) The Discovery Service. The National Archives. Available at: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/browse/r/h/D7224933 (Accessed: 11 November 2021).

Archives, T.N. (no date b) The National Archives, The National Archives. The National Archives. Available at: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ (Accessed: 12 November 2021).

Irish Genealogy (no date). Available at: https://civilrecords.irishgenealogy.ie/churchrecords/images/birth_returns/births_1898/02062/1788215.pdf (Accessed: 12 November 2021).

National Archives: Census of Ireland 1901 (no date a). Available at: http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1901/Donegal/Glenalla/Ray/1193035/ (Accessed: 12 November 2021).

National Archives: Census of Ireland 1911 (no date b). Available at: http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Donegal/Glenalla/Ray/502866/ (Accessed: 12 November 2021).

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