Samuel Pearcey – 1896-1974 – WWI Veteran

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
  1. For the Fallen, Stanza 3,4, by L. Binyon

On November 11, many people commemorate those who defend our freedom. 2018 is particularly poignant as it represents 100 years from the time most often associated with this act of Remembrance. Years ago, I crafted a small vignette to profile one of our family members who served our country in WWI.

Samuel Pearcey, father to my mother-in-law, Betty, was born on February 2, 1894 in Ashton-Under Lyne, Lancashire, United Kingdom. His parents were Joseph Goddard Pearcey and Mary Ellen Lalley. They married in Ashton, in 1879. Samuel had a brother George, and sisters Belle (Isabella), Lil, Mary and Sadie. We do not know too much about his parents, but there is one record of a Joseph Goddard Pearcey, contributing naturalist, noting some actinophrys sol stentor barretti, acineta grandts and ceratim longicome in the ponds near Ashton Moss published in 1888 under “Rambles during the year 1887- Ashton-Under-Lyne”. I think these are protozoa.

Samuel’s father died in 1900 when Samuel was just a boy. When Samuel was 17 (1911) he travelled to Canada. When WWI broke out in 1914, Samuel joined the 42nd Highlanders, Canadian Regiment.

Samuel’s 42nd Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada) became part of the Canadian Infantry Brigade under Brigadier-General A.C. Macdonell at the beginning of 1916. This Regiment went into the line with the Brigade at Wulvergham, Belgium. Samuel was just twenty years old.

The following letter, written about that time, by Percy Whitehouse, describes what Samuel might have also experienced as a young soldier in the early days of WWI. The letters included in this post are from a project called, Letters in My Attic, a British historical initiative.

Nov 13 1915

Dear Ettie,

I got your letter and papers yesterday Nov 12 and they came in just right. I was in my dugout when they came and was very pleased you are all well as I am at present. We came out for rest last night and it was a rough journey thunder storm came and I have never seen it rain so hard it fell down the trenches we left are half full up with water and we have been wet through all the time we have been here. We go in again on Monday 17 so we shan’t have time to dry our clothes for there is nowhere to dry them here unless we get a fire day which I don’t suppose we shall. It rains day and night here. We are in hutts [sic] here and not much comfort bare floor and one blanket and wet throughout and the mud here is awfull [sic].

We got in about 2 o’clock this morning (Sat) they gave us a small glass of wine and for breakfast buiscuits [sic] and cheese and one small loaf between 12 men so you see they don’t overfeed us. We spend our money on bread and candles and coffee and we don’t know how we should get on still we keep living. I should like to have some of those people that put photos in the papers, out here with us for a week, it would open their eyes a bit I think up to your knees in mud and water buiscuits and cheese to eat, bacon sometimes if you can make a fire without making a smokes. If you do, the Germans send a shell over to see how you are getting on. It would do them good I think.

A lot of our men went to hospital from frozen feet this time. I don’t know how it will be a bit later.   And how clear the name of my chum was. H. Strudwick his name was in the Argus you sent me. They have not got half the list yet. He was killed Sept 25th in the big advance and I never missed him untill [sic] the next morning. And now dear I think this is all this time. Hoping you will write soon, from your loving Husband Percy xxxxxxxxxxxx

P.S. kiss the kiddies for me. I will let you know if I want anythink. I should like the Argus now and again but not the other papers as there is plenty of daily papers but no local one. Good night and god bless you dear.

Happy Dreams

Samuel fought in the Battle of the Somme. This joint offensive, supported by troops from British imperial territories including Canada, took place between July 1st and November 18th, 1916. It was one of the bloodiest battles of the War. The British contingent lost 60,000 men on the very first day.

Tanks were used for the first time at the Battle of the Somme. By the end of the 4 ½ month conflict, the cost of human lives was immense. Allied forces recorded 623,907 casualties. The Germans lost over 465,000 men. More than 2,500,000 men were involved.

In this next letter, Percy Whitehouse describes life away from the trenches.

December 4th, [1915] 

Dear Ettie, 

At last I am answering your letter and hope you are well. I got the photos safely and think they [sic] very good. You have come out fine and you look very saucy I must say. I wish I was with you and I would show you what I mean. Well dear, I don’t suppose I shall be home for Christmas. We shall be lucky if we get home at all.

We are back here for a few days rest, as they call it, but it is harder than the trenches. The only thing we miss is the big guns roaring and the shells dropping around and there is [sic] snipers here so we can sleep in peace.

They shelled our last billet, a barn. We were all asleep when the first one came. It just missed the barn and fell in the field at the back but I thought the old barn was going over. Nearly all the chaps ran downstairs but I thought we were just as likely to get hit outside as in. So I turned my back to the shells and waited for them to come over. I thought every one was going to hit us but they all missed us. They hit a mule team and killed 8 men and some of the mules. We passed them the next morning going to the trenches. They were mixed up a bit. My mate died last week in hospital. Hard luck for his wife.

Harry Strudwick that you were asking about was the chap that came over one Sunday from Shoreham with me. The first one killed of our lot and now dear I hope you are getting on alright and glad that the boy is better. We had a very long march to get here, but the French people are much nicer than the Belgians.

Well dear I think this is all this time so now close with fondest love and kisses from your loving Husband Percy xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

P.S. remember me to all the folks I know. There has been a air raid in the next village to us about 2 miles away. 30 killed and injured so it is still a bit lively.

Good night and god bless you dear 


P.S.S. today one of our chaps got 5 years penal servitude for sleeping at his post in the trenches.

Pearcey, Samuel, POW 1916-1918

Samuel was injured during the Battle of the Somme. He was captured by the German forces, and taken as a Prisoner of War (POW). He was sent to Langensalza in Thuringia, Germany to work in the salt mines.

Some of the POW’s describe arriving by train. The camp was about 680 kilometres away from the front in Somme, France.

One account, The Prisoners 1914-1918 written by Robert Jackson p. 48-51, described day-to-day life and suggest this camp might have been more bearable than others. German women, who also worked at the salt mines, shared their rations. Some of the more lenient guards provided music and reading material. One tale details how one prisoner took one sunny afternoon off, and slipped into the forest to read.

Another account, taken in 1919, right after the war, gave a completely different perspective of life in the camp.

Private Berty Tucker (49594) 2/8th Worcestershire Regiment – POW Killed 1918

The following account by Corporal Golding (235590) of the 8th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment describes the conditions at Langensalza POW camp and the killing of Private Berty Tucker of the 2/8th Worcestershire Regiment by the camp guards on the 27th November 1918. I was captured on 28th May 1918 with about 40 other men of my regiment, the rest of my battalion having been taken prisoners on the day previous. We were sent with a party of about 1000 prisoners made up at Amifontaine and Hirson to Langensalza, where we arrived nine days after our capture on June 6th. We were first of all put into an isolation camp, but the accommodation was abominable. One thousand men were quartered .in three overcrowded barrack huts, and we suffered great discomfort. After a fortnight they moved us into the main camp, where I remained during the whole time of my captivity.

Towards the end of July I was put on the British Help Committee, The principal part of my duties was clerical work, such as writing letters, making lists, etc.

Captain Alexander was commandant at Langensalza when I arrived, and he continued to be in office until November 9th, when he was removed by the Soldiers’ Council, and Sergeant-major Koch, who up to this time had been a Feldwebel, was elected commandant of the “troops” in his place.

After the armistice was declared we never heard of Captain Alexander again or of General Scholtz, the general of the camp. Whilst I was at Langensalza Captain Alexander was very strict indeed. We had been told that he was well disposed towards the British prisoners, but he allowed no indulgence or privileges of any sort to the British N.C.O.’s. In my opinion, he could have done a good deal to improve the conditions of the camp, and particularly the sanitation, which was very bad indeed. Had he wished to do so, I think also that he might have done something to relieve the British prisoners who came into Langensalza from working behind the lines. These men were in a terrible state of emaciation, without clothing, when the Help Committee were able to give them food, and although they nearly all went to hospital, the only medical comforts and food they got came from the Help Committee.

The day after the armistice was declared, Captain von Marschall arrived in the camp. He was called the commanding officer of the camp, but he seemed to have no authority at all, and every order he signed had to be counter-signed by Feldwebel Koch, the elected commandant of the camp. Feldwebel Koch seemed to be supreme, and if ever any information was required as to transport and repatriation by the prisoners, they were always referred to him. Before his election Feldwebel Koch was in charge, of a company of French prisoners, but I do not think he had been Feldwebel very long, and we were told that he had come back from the front quite recently. Koch could not speak English, and he seemed to have very little authority over his subordinates.

All arrangements for transport and repatriation were left to the bureau of the British company, which was responsible for making out all lists, etc. The bureau was in charge of Feldwebel Rost and a couple of German clerks, but after the armistice he was replaced by Sergeant Ludwig, a man who was civil to the prisoners, but quite unable to do the work of the bureau, so everything had to be left to the British N.C.O.’s.

For all of  Grandma Young’s descendants, take time to look at the pictures in her front hall. When you visit, she can show you some pictures of her father, Samuel, from his time in the POW Camp in Langensalza. Also, you will see this letter written to her father from the King of England.

Pearcey S -Letter Sample Buckingham Palace

Samuel’s medals are displayed in that frame as well. What can you learn about these medals? We can expand our story about the recognition Sam Pearcey received for his role in WWI.

On November 11, 1918 at 11:00 am the Armistice Treaty was signed at Compiègne, France between Germany and the Allies for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front. Over thirteen million men were killed, wounded, captured, or missing in the 4 years, 3 months and 1 week of this Great War. Following WWII November 11th became Remembrance Day or Veterans’ Day to honour and remember the sacrifice made to ensure our freedom.

Meanwhile for Samuel Pearcey, Private of the Canadian Regiment, the path home would take a few more months. Samuel was sent to his family home at 98 Oldham Road, Ashton-under-Lyne on January 11th, 1919. The Hyde Reporter published an article PRISONERS OF WAR, Returned Men Welcomed at St. George’s,  on January 18, 1919. The Mayoress said a few words of welcome, and reported they had been successful in getting funds for the Prisoners of War Fund.  The Mayor’s Emergency Fund for the benefit of discharged soldiers distributed money to veterans. One recipient was Samuel Pearcey. He received 5 pounds.

Pearcey, Samuel and Lucy, Honeymoon in BlackpoolJust about one month after arriving back in Ashton-under- Lyne, Samuel went to a local dance and met Lucy Mary Ford. The story she tells is that “they met and married in a month.” Although she had been with another fella for over eight years, she often remarked, one had to “s… or get off the pot.” Samuel and Lucy married on March 10, 1919 at St. Agnes Church in North Reddish, Lancashire just 6 km from Ashton-under-Lyne.

Samuel and Lucy Pearcey lived with Lucy’s mother in Lancashire for two years before emigrating to Canada. They settled in Montreal, and had three children, Ernest, 1921; Joseph, 1924; and Betty, 1930.


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Zena Olive (Leigh) Beckstead (1913-2012)

One of my family elders held a special place in my heart. Great Aunt Zena came into our family when she married my grandmother’s brother, Herbert Loucks Beckstead. The couple never had children of their own, but they doted on their nieces and nephews. I remember the annual Christmas package of handmade mittens, and listening to Zena’s deep, humourous voice as she spoke in a measured thoughtful way. Years later, when my son, Chris enrolled at Western University, I renewed my relationship with Zena. Our visits were so special. I wrote this piece after a visit to London in April, 2007. Chris had finished his time at Western and was moving back home.

APRIL 2007

The relentless, grey, cold days offered little hope winter would ever release its grasp. April, in this University town, brought the upheaval of students on the move. Remnants of the long cold months lingered in clumps of dirty snow, mixed with sorry bits of trash. The evidence of makeshift belongings, not valued, and not capable of withstanding the disinterest of their owners, lay in heaps for the scavengers to claim. I headed to London, presuming I could help to my son move back into the family home with his belongings. A smattering of items, collected over the last four years of independent living, needed to be repatriated. The emotions drained me as I tried to navigate this new dimension of motherhood. The hotel accommodation I chose, with its standard issued room, offered me a sense of order, solitude and time to reflect of the day.

Between the slit in the curtains, daylight beckoned me from the warmth of my covers. The sunshine offered a glimmer of hope that winter will retreat, and all will be well. The day ahead was quite different. Today I would visit Great Aunt Zena. When Chris went to Western, I found a reason to be in London. Both Zena and I both celebrate birthdays in October, and we met every year at this time. This was our first visit in the spring.

I wondered what Zena thought of me, and my life choices; many would never have been acceptable in her era. Zena inspired me as I took extra care dressing for my visit. I chose an elegant but casual outfit. I found a simple joy in the crisp morning. Zena’s visits always lifted my spirits. Wispy clouds set against the brilliant blue sky provided a whimsical background for these sentiments.

Driving through the city, I now focused on the tinge of green filtering through the treetops as buds were coaxed to open. I arrived, armed with my usual bunch of flowers, and made my way into the lobby of the building. Remnants of a sophisticated building, glorious in its time, created a comfortable place. The residents, many like Aunt Zena,  lived there for decades, and had created a nice community. They were neighbours in the true sense of the word. The apartment was new when Zena and Bert decided to retire in London some twenty-five years ago. The couple held primary responsibility of providing care and support for their aging parents and siblings. As they finished their careers, they were ready for a fresh start in a new place.

The old intercom system rang through to announce my arrival, and I was buzzed into the sanctuary of the lobby. Typical of older devices, the solid elevator bounced slightly as I entered the space. I pressed the large black button for the ninth floor. The pulleys squealed as the elevator engine thrummed. The slow and laboured ascent began. When the doors opened, I knew she would be waiting at the end of the hall. Smiles erupted from both of our souls as our eyes met. It was a warm, joyous reunion.

Her eyes revealed her keen interest and warm sense of humour. I saw she had ‘done’ her face and I was struck by the beautiful shade of red lipstick and her softly tinted cheeks. The attention to detail was reflected in her well-manicured nails, polished to match the striking red flowers set on her deep blue dress. Her look was completed with a beautiful blue necklace of graduated beads held together with an attractive gold clasp and matching earrings. Later, I discovered these jewels belonged to my Great Aunt Lera. After we hugged, we set about to arrange the glorious yellow and orange tulips. We extracted the step stool, so I could retrieve the large green vase sitting on top of the kitchen cupboards.

“Just six months ago, I was up there cleaning when I realized I was slightly dizzy. I hate to admit it, but I should probably give up that task to someone a little younger.” she told me.

“I cannot imagine how you manage, Zena.” At ninety-four, few people could take care of themselves, and yet, Zena shopped and prepared her meals, and she handled most of her cleaning activities. I would call them chores but she took pride in her work.

“I haven’t been able to take those living room curtains down for a proper cleaning and pressing with starch yet. I do that job every spring. I always feel good to have that task completed.”

We decided to leave for our lunch. Zena retrieved her smart red wool coat, a beautifully tailored garment with a tasteful scarf tucked neatly inside the lapels. The smashing red fedora along with the requisite gloves completed her look, and we were ready to step out.

Zena’s beauty came from within, but her physical beauty compelled people to take a second look as she passed by. Her slight build and nimble step belied her age, and as she moved with grace, I felt proud when I was with her.

Whenever I drove with Zena, my senses were heightened. I felt I carried the most precious cargo. I was cautious, yet confident, with two hands always on the wheel. I made the effort to exaggerate the pauses with deliberate scans of the environment, and took extra time to bring the car to a gentle stop.

“You are such a good driver,” she commented. “I feel very comfortable driving with you.”

With those words, I felt rewarded for my attention to that task.

London was so beautiful to me at that moment. The grass was green—really green. The parks seemed tidy, and trees were ready to burst with joy.

We booked a table at Kelsey’s, a favourite date night place she went to with Burt. Though she had been widowed twenty years, she still thought of her sweetheart.

“That was years ago,” she said.

We sat comfortably while we decided what to eat. It was always a good time to chat about family news gathered since our last meeting. Our conversation turned to current events. In particular, she was keen to know my thoughts about the election in Quebec. She had her opinions, and seems to be staunchly Liberal in her political loyalty. “I rather like Stephan Dion,” she said, “but I am not impressed with what he has done thus far.” Apparently Harper was not to be trusted. “He would stick it to you if he needed to.” She tried to follow all the political debates for the Quebec election, as she had lived there for so many years. “Those English announcers keep jumping in over the dialogue, and I cannot hear what is being said,” she grumbled.

I shared with her my pursuit of some newly documented goals. “I am learning to play the piano, and I have signed up for creative writing classes”

Zena said, “I played the piano, too. With the classics, I did a hand-over-hand motion,” she waved her hands one over the other as her fingers mimicked the action. “I would say my skill level was intermediate. Modern tunes have no appeal to me. They turn me off,” she laments. “Do you want to hear a joke,” she muses?

This man gave $5000 to three women to decide whom he should marry. The first woman invested in a complete makeover because she loved him so much. The second woman bought gifts for him because she loved him so much. The third woman took the $5000 and invested the money, earned lots more and returned the $5000.

Who do you think he married? He chose the one with the big boobs!”

Zena had an incredible sense of humour, and was a great conversationalist. She worked at those skills. As the lunch came to a close, we decided to visit the restroom. “Hope they have a two-seater,” she said.

Back at the apartment, she revealed to me over a cup of tea. ” I fancy myself as a bit of a closet-creative writer too. Someday, I might like to write some stories about the characters I have met. Would you like to read a story of mine?”

“Of course,” I relied. Zena was always full of surprises.

Out from the office comes the yellowed-manuscript she entered into a contest run by McLeans magazine. “Back in the days, they used to have a fiction section. Somerset Maugham was one of the judges. Here it is. I called the story, ‘The Trappers’ and I even had a nom de plume!”

I glance down to see the words, ‘by Zora Steadleigh’ written across the bottom on the page. What a creative juxtaposition of our beloved Zena Leigh Beckstead.

As I  prepared to leave she offered to give me a little Aloe Vera plant. We transplanted one of the thriving sections, from her collection, into a portable container. Later, in the kitchen, as we wiped our hands, she playfully scrunched up the paper towel, aimed, and sent the little piece of trash into the air, nailing the basket. “Not too bad for an old girl” she winked at me, and smiled.

I was tickled again by this “old girl” and felt so glad for the time we had together.


99th Birthday Celebration Zena Olive (Leigh) Beckstead at Silom United Church, London, ON

Author’s Note: I find myself savouring the moments I spent with Zena. What an incredible life she led, and what an inspiration to me. Zena stayed in her apartment past her 99th birthday. Zena had many varied circles of friends and family. She remained constantly curious, and always tried to improve her knowledge. She had worked hard to ensure her 100th birthday would be recognized, but sadly she swooped away a few months shy of that mark.

I looked, but never found her manuscript. Much of her apartment was cleaned by the trustee she had appointed. Fortunately, many pieces of family history were saved. I came home with suitcases of treasures, saved by Great Uncle Bert. Months and years of family history were found within.

Zena was born October 29th 1913 and died May 8, 2013.



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Epilogue – Mary Lucy Byrne

Mary and Walter continued to work together in Wanowrie at the small Station Hospital. In the few letters we have, written by Mary between 1909 and 1919, she refers to her faith; she writes about corresponding with family; and she suggests the need to be frugal. Her reference to a few patients suggests her work continued to be primarily focused on midwifery and monthly nursing.

DD-Doran letters_0002

Letter to Norah from Mary 1913

Norah married Victor Hubert Veevers in January, 1913. In November that year, they baptised their first child, Norah Millicent Veevers in Poona. They took up residence in Bombay, and we have a few more letters they exchanged. Norah and Vic gave Mary two additional grandchildren, Walter Joseph b. 1917 and Margaret Mary, b. 1921. The letter on the left is an example of their easy relationship. It was written from Wanowrie just after Norah married and about half way through her first pregnancy.

Kathie returned from South Africa before 1914, and gave birth to her third child, Margaret Norah McGuire (Peggy). She was another of Mary’s grandchildren to be baptised in Poona.

World War One drew many of the men of the family away from home. Walter Joseph Wright re-enlisted and served in the Middle East.

Kathie’s husband, Thomas Keating McGuire served in France during WW1. Kathie and Tommy took their three children to England sometime before 1921 where they welcomed their fourth child while on the military base in Aldershot, Hampshire. He was baptised, Michael Joseph .McGuire, Tommy, Kathleen, Margaret (peggy) © 1916

Maggie and her husband, Stan were posted all over India, In 1910, they extended their family and welcomed their first daughter, Marie Josephine. In 1913, they were in Nowshera, Northern India for the birth of Herbert Stanislaus Leopold. Their fifth and last child, Kathleen Patricia was born in Delhi, India in 1917.

May and James Buchanan moved to Scotland. I believe James Buchanan also served in WWI, but I have not yet confirmed further details about this branch of the family. They resided in Edinburgh. Two boys were added to the Buchanan family between 1911 and 1919. Later, they adopted another boy, George, and raised him.

Doran, James M (Jimmy) w Robinson Harry ©1914

Right – Jimmy Doran taken with family friend Harry Robinson (c) 1914

Jimmy Doran had joined the Argyll and Sutherland Regiment as a boy. In WWI, he received medals for his service in France. After the war, he remained in the U.K. Jimmy did not marry until he was 50 years old. My grandmother had been so concerned the Doran family name would not be carried forward, so she asked my father, Douglas, her youngest child, to legally change his surname from Veevers to Doran-Veevers. A year later, in 1940, Jimmy did have a child. The Doran name was passed onto his son, Terrance Michael Doran. He was the last grandchild for James Doran and Mary Lucy Byrne.



Mary Lucy Doran Wright

In April, 1922, Mary died from complications of Diabetes. She was just 61 years old. Her death and burial are noted in the St. Patrick’s Cathedral records although the age recorded there was not accurate. A grand monument was erected in the Church cemetery. The inscription reads,

In Loving Memory of our Darling Mother,  Died 6th April 1922, Aged 58 Years, THY KINGDOM COME R.I.P., Erected by her sorrowing son and daughters.

Walter Joseph Wright died two years later, from malaria. His death and burial are also noted in the St. Patrick’s Cathedral records.

Norah and Vic had two more children in Bombay, Dorcas Kathleen b. 1924 and Douglas Victor b. 1926. The family left India to take up residence Ealing, London, England in 1932. The move was difficult for Norah, in particular.

Maggie and Stan were the last of the Doran family to leave India. They stayed until 1947, when India gained its independence. They were among the last British families to leave the country. They first stayed in London and then made their home in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Doran, sisters (Norah, May, Margaret, Kathleen)w Christine ©1951The four sisters, Kathie, Maggie, May and Norah were reunited around 1950. The siblings were all living in the U.K., but they did not see each other. The photo shown here was taken during their last visit together. India provided a way of life that was difficult to replicate in the United Kingdom, but the experience left a profound mark on our family legacy.

Author’s Note: This work is based on factual records upon which I have taken many liberties to breath life into the records. The narrative, storyline and character development emerged from my imagination and personal experience as I uncovered the facts. The following timeline records those detailed facts.


1860 Aug 29 BIRTH, Corfu, Ionian Islands, British Protectorate
1862 Aug 22 Birth of sister, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Dublin, Ireland
1865 Dec Birth of sister, Josephine Bridgitte, Levis Quebec, British North America
1867 Apr 10 Death of sister, Josephine Bridgitte, Levis, Quebec, British North America
1867 Nov Birth of brother, Michael Joseph, Levis, Quebec, Canada
1869 Birth of brother, Paul Frederick, Levis, Quebec, Canada
1871 CENSUS; Byrne Family, Woolwich, England
1874 Birth of sister, Maud, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
1874 Retirement of Father, Michael Byrne, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
1876 Birth of sister Josephine Dorothea (Jessie), Crowthorne, Berkshire, England. Father is working as a shoemaker.
(Note: In the 1911 record, Josephine’s middle name is recorded as Margaret)
1878 Birth of sister, Amelia Charlotte (Millie), The Verne Citadel, Weymouth, Dorset.
1879 Feb 15 (Friday) MARRIAGE to James Joseph DORAN, Chapel of our Lady and St Andrew, The Verne Citadel, Priest John Rufus Wincott,
1879 Mar DEPART Weymouth for Plymouth, Devonport, Devon, England
1879 May 20 APPOINTMENT, James Doran to Sergeant
1879 DEPART, Plymouth, James Doran goes to JERSEY (one month)
1879 Oct DEPART Plymouth for KINGSTOWN, Ireland (near Dublin)(Mary 4 1/2months preg)
1879 SLIGO, Ireland
1879 Q4 Birth of brother Francis (Frank), The Verne Citadel
1880 Mar 13 BIRTH of daughter Kathleen Mary, Sligo Ireland Military Barracks
1880 Apr 19 APPOINTMENT James Doran to C. Sergeant (Company Sergeant)
1880 Apr 08 MULLINGAR, Ireland
1880 May 12 THE CURRAGH. James Doran reverted back to Sergeant
1880 Aug AWOL, James Doran is demoted to Private; loses Good Conduct Pay
1880 Sep 11 HOSPITAL, James Doran spends two weeks under medical care (diarrea)
1881 Apr BIRTH of Child (confirmed in Muster Rolls, 1883-5) Most likely at Curragh unless Mary was elsewhere
1881 CENSUS, Byrne Family, The Verne Citadel
1881 Sep DEPART, board HMS Malabar for India from QUEENSTON, Ireland. Good Conduct Pay restored.
1881 Oct 24 BOMBAY, India – Arrival (Military Records of 2nd B Lancashire Fusiliers)
1881 Oct ASIRGARH, India
1882 Dec 09 APPOINTMENT, James Doran to Lance Crpl
1882 Dec 24 BIRTH of daughter Margaret Josephine (India)
1883 Dec 13 MHOW
1883 Apr 06 MILITARY, James Doran reverted to Private
1883 Sep 29 MILITARY, James Doran granted 2nd GC Pay
1884 Apr 22 MOUNT ABU
1884 Apr Death of Mother, Josephine Byrne, in Dorset, from to pregnancy complications; Present at time of death, daughter Elizabeth Byrne
1884- Q4 DEATH of Child born 4 1881 in India (Muster Rolls)
1885 Oct 11 BIRTH of daughter May
1885 Dec 09 NASIRABAD
1885 Marriage of Father, Michael Byrne to Jane Nugent
1886 PHOTO of Mary Lucy taken with three girls, Kathie, Maggie & May
1886 Apr 01 APPOINTMENT James Doran to Lance Crpl
1887 Jun 29 MILITARY James Doran re-engages for a total of 21 years commitment
1887 Sep BIRTH of son, William James Joseph
1887 Sep 27 MILITARY, James Doran granted 3rd GC Pay
1888 Feb 07 DEATH of son, William James Joseph, age 5 months
1888 Apr 14 APPOINTMENT, James Doran promoted to Corporal
1888 12/08 COLABA
1889 01/31 BIRTH of son, James Michael Doran India
1889 08 AHMEDNAGAR, Maharashtra, India
1890 09/25 BIRTH of son, Edward Patrick Ahmednagur, Maharashtra, India
1890 10/06 HOSPITAL Ahmednagar – James is treated for Rheumatism (138 days)
1891 02/20 HOSPITAL James Doran is discharged and re-located to Poona for additional 58 days
1891 04/20 HOSPITAL James Doran discharged
1891 09/07 DEATHof son, Edward Patrick, buried St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Poona
1891 Marriage of Sister, Elizabeth Byrne weds Walter William Laskey in Tounga, Burma
? 1893 09 MILITARY James Doran court-martial and demotion to Private
1893 11/26 BIRTH of daughter Norah Millicent
1894 PHOTO Family portrait taken with all five children and parents
??1894 07 MILITARY James Doran demoted. Transferred to 1st Leinster Regiment #4188
1895 DEPART James Doran travels on SS Dilawara to Ireland then to Tipperary
1897 11/26 DEATH of James Doran in Poona
1897 11/27 BURIAL James Doran – St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Poona
1903/4 Marriage of Daughter Margaret (Maggie) to Stanislaus George Smyth
1905 Jan 28 Birth of Grandson, Maurice Carlton Smyth in Poona
1905 Nov 22 Marriage of Daughter, May to James Buchanan, in Poona. Witness Walter W Laskey, spouse of Lizzie Byrne
1906 Aug 31 Birth of Granddaughter, Marie Josephine Buchanan in Poona.
1906 Sep Marriage of Daughter, Kathleen (Kathie) to Thomas Keating McGuire
1908 Birth of Granddaughter, Kathleen Mary McGuire
1908 Birth of Grandson, Terence St. John Smyth
1909 Feb 28 MARRIAGE Mary Lucy Doran to Dr. Walter Joseph Wright in Ghourpouri, Poona at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
1909 Birth of Granddaughter, Adela Bottana Teresa Buchanan in Poona
1910 Dec 5 Birth of Granddaughter, Marie Josephine Smyth
1910 Birth of Grandson, Thomas Keating McGuire in Poona
1911 Census for Kathleen (Kathie) (Doran) McGuire in barracks in South Africa
1913 01 Marriage of Daughter, Norah to Victor H Veevers
1913 Birth of Grandson Herbert Stanislaus Leopold Smyth in Nowsherra Frontier
1913 Sep 13 Death of father, Michael Byrne in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England
1914 Birth of Granddaughter, Margaret Norah McGuire
1914 Nov 13 Birth of Granddaughter Norah Millicent Veevers
1917 Apr 1 Birth of Grandson Walter Joseph Veevers
1917 Birth of Granddaughter, Kathleen Smyth, Delhi, India
1921 Birth of Granddaughter Mary Margaret Veevers, Bombay
1921 Birth of Grandson, Michael Joseph McGuire, Leeds, Yorkshire
1922 Aug, DEATH, Mary Lucy Byrne, from diabetes
1922 Aug BURIED at St. Patrick’s Cathedral Cemetery

Note: Mary had two additional grandsons, James Buchanan and John Buchanan, born prior to her death, but I do not have specific dates or locations of these births.

Note: The McGuire family name transitioned sometime in this period to Maguire.

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Home – Mary Lucy Byrne – Part 45

Mary sensed the air that kissed her cheek. Her eyelids felt heavy, keeping her mind in darkness like a velvet cover draped across her face. She could feel the steady rhythm of her breath as her chest rose and fell. A sense of being cocooned wrapped her in a blanket of safety and contentment.

A shrill sound landed in her ear piercing the stillness. For a moment she was confused. What was that? The sharp cry was not the call of a seagull. It sounded much more like the peacock that made its home under her bedroom window, and strutted through her yard most mornings.

Mary rolled onto her back, brought her hands to her face. She inhaled before she exhaled a large yawn followed by a deep sigh. She shifted her weight and felt the urge to stretch her limbs. She cracked her eyes open, and through her fingers, saw the blurred image of her punkwallah. It gently waved back and forth stirring the air and swaying the surrounding bed-curtain like wispy clouds floating high in the sky. Still feeling the weight of her hands on her forehead she thought, “What a vivid dream! It was so real. It was as if I had truly travelled home.”

She lay still, quite absorbed in the story that had unfolded in her imagination. What a rare indulgence. She never lingered in bed, yet a powerful curiousity to review the images of her visit during the night, drawn in her mind’s eye, kept her locked in her quiet space. Her thoughts soared over a body of water to land in the room tucked in her cache of dreams. Her sisters, all grown now, sat together laughing. Their brothers, standing in the corner, gesticulated with such energy that they looked very much like competing orchestra directors bobbing and pointing their hands this way and that. Mary smiled at their playful jostling as she continued to scan the room She paused as she came upon the image of her mother, Josephine. She seemed so happy and at peace as she sat quietly observing her brood. Her graceful manner, so regal as she turned to smile at Mary. It is so good to see you Mama, Mary thought feeling a tear fill her eye. The image faded, and Mary was drawn across that room again to her father. He stood tall, larger than he was in life, then he threw back his head in a hearty laugh. The flickering light cast upon her wall caught Mary’s attention, even through her closed eyes. She was not ready to abandon her story so she forced her concentration back to her recollection. It was not to be. The images began to crumble and blur as Mary searched her memory to bring those loved ones back into focus. She sighed as the dream state shifted away and brought her to a more alert consciousness. She lifted the covers and swung her legs over the side of her bed.

Such nonsense. Where do these dreams come from? Mary shook off her sleepiness and forced herself awake. She rose and made her way to the wash stand. Cool water splashed in the bowl as Mary felt it run through her fingers. She dipped the delicate linen cloth into the bowl and squeezed out the excess moisture. It felt cool on her face as she wiped away the sleep and dried perspiration from the night before. She pulled her long hair back to wash her neck, glancing over at the objects strewn across her desk. Ahh – perhaps all that reminiscing before bed planted those visions. All this talk about England is muddling my brain.


Jane (Nugent) and Michael Byrne

Mary wandered over and picked through some of the things; the photograph of her father with Jane, standing outside their home in Portsmouth; the letter from her brother Paul with the postcard of Folkestone Pier, his new home; and the lovely cabinet photo of


Amelia Charlotte (Millie)

Millie, so grown now. Mary shook her head in disbelief, yet her smile revealed how much she cherished the gift from the dream world.dd-doran-letters_0006.jpg






The smell of food cooking in the other room encouraged her to quickly complete her morning tasks. She barely acknowledged the old woman crouched over the pots as she made her way out to the verandah. Walter was drinking his tea, absorbed in a booklet of notes, “Good morning, sleepyhead,” he said as he lifted his head and sent her a loving smile.

“Good morning, my dear. I do apologize for being so tardy this morning. There is still so much to do. Norah arrives this afternoon to introduce her new beau, Victor.”

“Oh Mary, no need to apologize. You must have needed your rest. Surely we don’t need to fuss too much.”

“I suppose you’re right. Norah will be too absorbed by her affection to notice any effort from us.” Mary poured the steaming tea into her cup and continued. “I certainly had difficulty leaving my bed this morning. I had the most bizarre dream.”

“Really?” Walter chuckled as he studied her face.

Mary looked up, “Yes, I was in a room somewhere in England. My brothers and sisters all chatting, animated, and friendly with each other. Then I had a vision of my mother! Can you imagine that? It was lovely to see her image so clearly.” Mary paused glancing at a hummingbird as it darted into the splash of red flowers by the step. “It was as if her angel came down to show me she is doing well and that she is happy.” Mary paused, holding that memory close. “I also saw the image of my father, laughing in that manner I recall so well. I was hovering outside the room, and unable to participate. Then it was all gone. So bizarre!”

“The mind does unusual things with memories. Perhaps all our discussion about going to England still weighs on you? Are you certain you do not want to go home after all?”

Mary stared out from the porch at the patch of garden that framed their new bungalow. Beyond them, vast plains of golden grass swayed gently in the light breeze. The depth of intense blue, where the sky met the horizon, already shimmered with the morning heat. England? Home? That place is just a part of my past, it is nothing more than a dream to me now. Mary looked over at her husband, “Oh Walter, that was just a dream, a very pleasant memory. It doesn’t change my mind.”

The Lord had tested her, and she had persevered. Her prayers were answered. Mary’s children had found their own paths, and she was happy for them. Now she was free to devote her remaining years to her nursing passion, alongside Walter. Together they continued to work at the station hospital in Wanowrie, a small outpost outside Poona.

BDV-Matron Lucy Mary Doran Wright

Matron Mary Lucy (Byrne) (Doran) Wright

It was ideal for Mary. Away from the noise and rules of society, she could focus on the caring of others with the support and love of God. Life was harsh for people in India, but she had settled into a comfortable alliance with the place. Her faith, the backbone of her devotion for her work, gave her strength and fulfillment.

She found her soulmate in Walter, and together they pursued their passion of service to others. Mary leaned forward in her chair, reached her arm over towards Walter, taking his hand in hers. “This is where I belong, Walter. With you by my side, doing this work that we love; this is where I truly feel at home.”


The End


Begin Mary’s Story Here – The Prologue

Author’s Note: Thanks for sharing my journey as I imagined how Mary dealt with the circumstances in her life. I will add an epilogue next week and then begin the process to edit and prepare her story for printing.


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By the Sea – Mary Lucy Byrne – Part 44

Last time, Mary took a new husband, Courting – Mary Lucy Byrne – Part 43

The story continues…

Mary paused and reflected. One gloved-hand held her parasol, and the other clutched a small case. Time seemed suspended in the bubble that enveloped her. She looked out across the vast stretch of water. Once again, the seagulls swooped and hovered in the breeze. A group of disturbed flamingos had taken to the sky. Mary loved how they were called a flamboyant of flamingos. Bombay harbour seemed even more chaotic than she remembered. Everyone felt the excitement. Passengers gathered on deck, anxious to get to their destination. They chatted like a troop of monkeys while the crew scurried about. All around her Mary sensed the people jostling along with their belongings. The stray dogs, noses to the ground, expertly manoevering between the legs and cart-wheels, hunted for scraps. Mary peered intently at the horizon. Maybe she was getting too old for this kind of excitement, although in her mind, she still felt like a young girl. A tingle of energy bubbled up and escaped into a hint of a smile on her face.

pexels-photo-890868SeagullThe blast from the ship’s horn sounded, momentarily drowning all other noise, bringing Mary back to reality. This port had changed so much, but then, it had been almost thirty years since she stepped off the ship that brought her here. She smiled remembering the awe and shock she and Jimmy felt when they first came to India. So many memories flooded into her consciousness. Significant events in Mary’s life anchored around her comings and goings by sea. Each time, whether she arrived or she departed, she was struck by the same sense of adventure. Fragments of those times filtered to her awareness. “All those places and people I’ve left behind.” She scanned the details in her mind’s eye like a stack of books in a well-used library.

She thought of her siblings; barely remembered after her absence of three decades. Mary had been faithful in her correspondence, but her sisters and brothers had long ago outgrown their childhood. Millie, the baby, worked as a private nurse, tending a child in London. Jessie and Maud left behind their excited, school-girl ways, and both of them were working independently. Her eldest brother, Michael, had gone off to school before she left for India. She really didn’t know what had become of him. Of her other brothers, Paul had followed his father’s footsteps, and joined the Royal Engineers. She had never even met the youngest in the family, Francis. Paul and Frank, as he preferred to be called, had both established careers and were faring well. Paul had also married, and had a daughter of his own. Mary had fond remembrances of these siblings, but, she had to confess, she was not close to them. Really, how could I be?”

By far the best relationship she held was with Lizzie. All these years, Lizzie was still her best friend. No matter where life took them, their bond was firm.

Of course, there was Papa. Had he softened with the easing of responsibility as Lizzie suggested, or would his old habits surface? Did he cling firmly to his staunch beliefs and maintain the rigour and discipline ingrained in him from his days as a Royal Engineer? Or, had his wife, Jane, and the passage of time, mellowed his character? Mary had imagined somehow that she had not lived up to her father’s expectations. Lizzie insisted that feeling was utter nonsense. Still, she felt a sense of apprehension creep over her as that age-old fear tensed her. She shook her head and muttered under her breath, “What are you thinking? You’re a grown woman, now.”

Mary had never been able to summon the courage or cope with the expense of travelling back to England after Jimmy had died twelve years ago. She reflected back on that dark time, recognizing that death was a blessing for him as the disease ravaged his body in his last few months. Life had not been generous to her Jimmy. She remembered how lost — how afraid she had been — when she was left to raise her children.

The seagulls screeched overhead, distracting Mary from her daydream. She gazed up, silently connecting to their graceful flight. They were so carefree. “You have all the time in the world, don’t you?”

She spotted Walter standing a short distance away. BDV-Wright, Walter JosephObserving the easy way he was engaged in conversation, Mary assumed he was speaking with a colleague. She saw her husband touch the brim of his cap to signal the discussion was complete before he glanced at Mary, and smiled. She was grateful for Walter’s steady support. His gentle smile was radiant, sending love to her across the way, like the sun peeking out from thick clouds. She felt immense thankfulness for his devotion. A fine figure of a man as well, so young and so handsome. She cast a smile back to him, though the turmoil within her continued.

“They are safely onboard,” Walter said, arriving by her.

Mary nodded to acknowledge the statement. Walter stepped closer to be her side. He placed his arm lovingly around her shoulder, gazing up towards the deck. “They will be fine, Mary,” Walter said. ”It is a short distance and they will be back.”

Kathleen Doran McGuire with children (c) 1910

Kathie (Doran) McGuire with Kathleen Mary and Thomas Keating Doran McGuire (c) 1910, Poona

She felt the warmth of his love dissolve her tension. She felt very safe with this man. She knew he was speaking the truth, but the painful goodbye to Kathie and her two precious grandbabies was so difficult for her. Thomas McGuire had been posted to South Africa and his family needed to be with him. She was so thankful to have that lovely photo of Kathie and the two little ones.

Mary’s thoughts turned to her mother, now long gone. She clearly recalled the image of her mother, nestling her face into her baby sister, Millie’s, cap. Mama had tried so hard to hold in her tears. Mary felt a tightening in her throat as she remembered the strength of her mother’s embrace that very last time.

Kathie had grown so much these last few years, and become a good mother herself. Now her daughter was leaving. The separation from her eldest child would be hard, but Kathie had a good husband and a full life of her own .

Walter had decided to bring Mary to Bombay to see them off. She had not left Poona for almost twenty years, and Mary still had reservations about visiting England. He felt bringing her to the harbour might make her feel more comfortable about travelling ‘home.’

“There they are!” Walter exclaimed, pointing his finger toward the bundle of waving arms. Kathie beamed from the deck, holding baby Tommy. Her husband, Thomas, clutched little Kathleen’s hand. The family was set for their adventure.

Mary found the courage to light up her face. She set her case on the ground, and lifted her hand in response. Her family was moving on.

Even, Norah, her youngest, was about to turn eighteen. Mary was close to Norah, but she, too, was on the threshold of her life. More and more, Norah was drawn towards her independence, pushing Mary towards a new stage in her own life.

Begin Mary’s Story Here – The Prologue

Author’s Notes: Kathie McGuire appears in the 1911 Census, living in barracks in South Africa. In 1914, her third child is baptised in Poona, India.

May Doran Buchanan with daughters (c)1910

May (Doran) Buchanan with Adele Teresa Botany and Marie Josephine

The photograph of Kathie with her two children is cropped from an image that also includes her sister, May, with her two children, Marie Josephine and Adele Teresa Botany Buchanan.

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Courting – Mary Lucy Byrne – Part 43

Over the next few years Dr. Wright frequently visited with Mary’s patients, and her knowledge and confidence grew. They settled into an easy working relationship, so it wasn’t too long before they dropped formalities, when they were alone, and called each other Walter and Mary. It felt so lovely to be doing this work in partnership with someone who shared a passion for the well-being of others.

Walter enjoyed her companionship. She was a kind and capable nurse who knew both the English ways and clearly understood the habits and customs of the local people. Mary’s children were now established with their own families, or settled into their schools. Despite being sixteen years her junior Walter had, for quite some time, harboured the idea of asking her to be his wife. When he was asked to move to the Station Hospital in Wanowrie he thought the time might be right to ask her to become his partner. The Station Hospital would benefit from her competent nursing, and he would finally settle into a loving home again.

During the ten years Mary had been on her own she had made something of her life. She was well-respected in the community, and she loved the work she did. Her daughter, Maggie, had two young boys now. Maurice was three years old when his brother Terence was born. Kathie and May, both busy with their young daughters, found great companionship with each other. Young Jimmy, a drummer with the Argyle and Sutherland Regiment, had grown into a lean, serious young man. Norah, her youngest, had taken up tennis, of all things, and was totally engaged at her school. The idea of companionship began to feel like the right direction for Mary. She knew this time would be different.

Wright_&_Doran_Marr_Photo_ 1909Walter and Mary wed February 28, 1909 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, in a simple ceremony. Soon after the marriage they posed for their formal wedding portrait — Walter looking crisp and proper in his military dress uniform, and Mary, a graceful woman of forty-nine, faced the camera with an easy self-assurance. Her tailored dress with fine details erred on the side of practical rather than fanciful. Her hair, ‘pouffed’ in the latest fashion, was topped with a stylish hat, trimmed with a small floral spray.

Shortly after they formalized their partnership, Walter started talking about making a trip ‘home.’ Going home to England – is it really true? Going home. Everyone spoke that way. England was always ‘home,’ no matter where in the world they were or how long they had been gone. It was always ‘home.’ Mary had spent so little time in her native country she struggled to feel England was ‘home.’ He suggested the voyage would an ideal way to spend time together, and visiting England would allow them to be reacquainted with their families. The idea seemed so foreign to Mary. Over the past ten years she had made all her own decisions. Her choice to marry brought not only security and companionship, but now she also needed to consider her husband’s wishes. Becoming a partner again required compromise, so Mary endeavoured to push aside her apprehension, and consider the voyage in earnest.

Mary searched her heart, and spent time in prayer. The voyage was long, and the work they were doing was important. She fondly remembered the days in England when the sun shone over the beautiful pastures. Her memory of the seashore, with the drama of crashing waves and steady tides, washed over her with a familiar sense of well-being. Harder to conjure, but still in her memory were the days and weeks of damp, cold weather. Mary wondered what it might be like to see her father again. So many years had passed. What could she possibly say. It was difficult enough to compose her letters to those she had not seen for so long. However, her new husband seemed fixated on the idea. Was it her duty to respect his wishes? Is this truly something he wants to do? Was he simply trying to make a grand gesture for Mary’s benefit? She was touched by his suggestion, but still had some serious misgivings about the idea. She had been away from England for thirty years. In fact, her entire adult life had been spent abroad. Yes, it had been a very long time, perhaps too long.

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Walter Joseph Wright – Mary Lucy Byrne – Part 42

Children Finding Their Way – Mary Lucy Byrne – Part 41


Mary walked with purpose into the hospital as she focused on the list of things she must do that day. The shuttered windows kept out some of the heat from the morning sun leaving the still air pungent with the smell of disinfectant mingled with the stench of disease. Since receiving her nursing diploma, Mary had built a solid reputation as a Monthly Nurse and Midwife. She willingly embraced her duties to efficiently minister to those who needed her, supported by her strong faith in God. This morning she was intent on speaking with the new doctor, recently arrived in India, to get instruction for a particularly difficult case.

Dr. Walter Wright had achieved a reputation for his skills as a physician in spite of his limited experience. He had completed his medical training a few years earlier, and his knowledge included some of the most modern techniques. Perhaps he might have some ideas for her patient.

Mary spoke to the porter in Hindi since she had become fluent in many of the native languages following her arrival, in India, some twenty five years ago. The porter stood, and amidst his brisk bowing, hands held in prayer position, he uttered politely, ”Ma’ams, if it pleases you, I speak English, Queen’s language”.

Mary nodded, “ Very well, tell me, where might I find Doctor Wright?”

The porter nodded excitedly, “Yes Ma’am, come this way, I show you.”

Mary followed, her skirts swishing and rustling as she picked up her pace in pursuit of the eager man. Down the hall, she could hear the Doctor well before she saw him. His distinct British voice was cultivated and polished. The sound made Mary both smile and shudder. He spoke with clear authority trying to convey the urgency of his message.

Mary cleared her throat, “Good Morning Sir, Mrs. Doran, Diplomaed Nurse,” as she extended her hand in greeting. “Perhaps I might help translate? English is a difficult language and sometimes our nuances are lost on these poor people.”Mrs M Doran Card

“Very kind of you. I thankfully accept,” said Walter. He watched this woman as she turned and spoke in Hindi. The workers nodded their heads like bobbing sand pipers weaving in and out of the waves. The words jumbled in a range of pitches as the chorus of notes echoed off the walls. Walter was impressed. She spoke with authority and held herself in a confident manner. She obviously took great care in her appearance, and he noted to himself she had a sincere connection to these people.

Mary turned towards Dr. Wright. She had not failed to notice what a fine young man stood before her. His build was slender, yet well-balanced. His soft brown hair was neatly combed and a groomed moustache sat above his upper lip. His eyes were warm and compassionate, and in just a short while, Mary had decided she really liked this young doctor. He will be an enormous benefit to our community.

She then spoke to him directly. “Dr. Wright, I presume.”

Indeed Madam,” he replied. “ I am sure you haven’t come simply to be my very capable translator. How may I assist you?”

“I have come about a very troubling situation I have at the home of one of my patients; one of the native community not of the British contingent. The head of the household took quite ill last week. He is simply not responding to any care given by his people and my conventional approaches have yielded no improvement. This can be a wretched country and at times it just seems so unfair. Prior to this illness, the man was fit, a very industrious provider and a good father. Dr. Wright, I wondered if you might advise on possible new treatments that might help him recover?”

“Well, I have a few moments now. Come with me and tell me more about his circumstances,” he said.

Mary followed him down the corridor gaining an assured professional manner. She began to describe the symptoms of her patient. She gave the doctor a succinct report of the patient’s symptoms giving him a comprehensive overview of the situation.

When they reached his office, he turned to her and said, ”I agree those symptoms should have responded to your treatments. I would like to visit this patient of yours. Would you take me there?”

Mary was stunned. The doctors normally did not like to venture out into the community. This man seemed to put the patients’ needs above the risk. “ Dr. Wright, I would be very grateful for your help.”

David Sassoon Hospital, Pune, India“Not a problem, Mrs. Doran. My first responsibility is to our patients, don’t you agree?”

“Yes, I do agree, sir. Might I suggest I take you there this evening – after the most intense heat of the day has subsided?”

“Very well, Mrs. Doran, I will meet you in the hospital courtyard later this evening. I look forward to seeing the conditions your patients are dealing with. Until then,” he bowed graciously and then turned to head back down to the ward.

Sassoon Hospital, built 1867 in Poona, India. An example of the type of facility existing for medical treatment.

Buchanan, James, May & Marie w Doran, Mary, Jimmy, Norah ©1907a

Family Photograph (c) 1907, (SS)

Author’s Note: Mary seems to be finding her place. I particularly love this photograph taken in Poona. She shares a beautiful smile of contentment. In my mind, she is absolutely in love with her Granddaughter, Marie Josephine, b. 31 Aug. 1906. I can certainly relate to the joy that comes from Granddaughters as I have two beautiful girls myself.




Begin Mary’s Story Here – The Prologue

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