Thursday, September 6, 2018

On This Day: September 5/6, 1943: Halifax HR 810 Crashed

Sergeant James H Briggs PoW No.43105 and headstones for three deceased airmen: J.M. Broderick, G.I. Agate, and A.C. Brunton
I received this email from Alec Briggs this morning:

Hi Cindi
Thinking of you today, this is a copy of the posting on my Facebook page today.
Take Care

Halifax HR 810 Crashed at Nussloch on 
5th/6th September 1943

Alec posted the following:
"At 2:30 am on the 6th September 1943 having completed their mission over Mannheim, 405 Squadron's Halifax HR 810 crashed at Nussloch, 9 kms SSE of Heidelberg.
Sgt Brunton, Sgt Broderick and Sgt Agate were killed in the crash, they were buried in the local cemetery and remained there until after the war when they were reinterred in CWGC's grave concentration program.
The survivors were taken prisoner and held overnight in the town hall at the nearby town of Walldorf.
Sgt C.Hewitson, PoW No.222824.was imprisoned at Camp 4B, along with PoW No.222773, Sgt R.Thomson. Sgt Vidler was confined to hospital until he was repatriated to Liverpool on board SS Letitia which arrived in Liverpool on 2nd February 1945. 
Sergeant James H Briggs PoW No.43105 was initially hospitalised as he had suffered leg injuries, a damaged spine and had lost his left eye when his wireless equipment exploded. He served the rest of the war as a prisoner in various camps including 357,ending the war in Stalag Luft VI.
The cause of the crash was never established and HR810 was the last Halifax reported missing from No.405 Sqdn.

I have located the field where HR810 crashed and have some small pieces of the plane which were recovered by some very kind German lads. I know Jim would have landed elsewhere, having parachuted from the falling plane. (I have the silk worm "caterpillar", issued by the Irvin Air Chute Company to all those whose lives were saved by a parachute).

Jim, my Dad, came home, three of the crew who boarded HR810 with him at Great Gransden and were airborne at 19:25 on 5th September 1943 were dead 7 hours later and now lie in adjacent graves in the CWGC cemetery at Durnbach.

Having visited the graves of Jim's mates, maybe between now and the 75th anniversary of him getting home, I may follow my Dad's Journey to Heydekrug and Stalag Luft VI, (Now Silute in Lithuania). 
He did say in the POW debriefing documents that he had been treated very well, particularly by the medical staff who tended to him. A lesson to us all."
Remembering Them:
The Seven Men Aboard the HR 810
Sgt J.H.Briggs 1082027 RAFVR  
Sgt J.H.Briggs 1082027 RAFVR (WOp Gunner)

Sgt A.C.Brunton 658381 RAFVR
  • Sgt A.C.Brunton 658381 RAFVR (Pilot)
 Sgt G.E.Agate 1391419 RAFVR
Sgt G.E.Agate 1391419 RAFVR (Mid Upper Gunner)
 W/O L.J.M.Broderick R/109822 RCAF
W/O L.J.M.Broderick R/109822 RCAF (Bomb Aimer)
My cousin Leo Joseph Martin Broderick (1919-1943)
 The Other HR810 Airmen
  • Sgt J.E.Vidler (Rear Gunner) 
  • Sgt C.Hewitson 535857 RAF (Flight Engineer) 
  • Sgt R.Thomson 1550695 RAFVR (Navigator)

Previous Related Blog Posts

Monday, September 3, 2018

September 4, 1944 - Evelyn Pucino & Her Coughlin Cousins

On September 4, 1944, Evelyn (Pucino) Shea (1925-2016) visited her Coughlin cousins in Ontario and Michigan and created a photo journal of her travels.

I am so grateful that I have been entrusted with these precious photos so that I can share them with the many Coughlin descendants still living in Michigan and Ontario.

Evelyn is pictured above holding on to a baby. Left to right are: William Henry Coughlin (1872-1952), Lawrence Coughlin (1916-1992), her aunt Ruth (Gray) Coughlin (1907-1987), her mother Margaret R. (Coughlin) Pucino (1899-1964), Art Schofield (1901-1981) and Elizabeth (Annal) Coughlin (1884-1953).

Evelyn (Pucino) Shea (1925-2016)
Evelyn was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, on March 20, 1925, the daughter of John C. Pucino (1895-1953) and Margaret (Coughlin) Pucino (1899-1964).

Evelyn grew up in New Paltz, New York, and moved with her family to Connecticut, living most of her life in Coventry.

Circled in Red: Margaret, Ruth and Evelyn visited Ontario and Michigan in 1944

There are four pages of photographs with photos on both side.

 The Photographs

 "Eileen and Billie" (Van Huyse)
Eileen Margaret (Demarse) Van Huyse (1921-1990) is the daughter of Joseph Demarse (1896-1981) and Mary Madeline Coughlin (1900-1929)

"Billie" Van Huyse
Lawrence Coughlin  (1916-1992), and Evelyn (Pucino) Shea (1925-2016)

Marguerite (Coughlin) Schofield (1904-1984) and Evelyn (Pucino) Shea (1925-2016)

"Uncle Willy" William Coughlin  (1872-1952) and Evelyn (Pucino) Shea (1925-2016)

William Coughlin  (1872-1952), Margaret R. (Coughlin) Pucino (1899-1964), Ruth (Gray) Coughlin (1907-1987) and Evelyn (Pucino) Shea (1925-2016)

William Henry Coughlin (1872-1952), Ruth (Gray) Coughlin (1907-1987), Lawrence Coughlin (1916-1992), Margaret R. (Coughlin) Pucino (1899-1964), Evelyn (Pucino) Shea (1925-2016) (holding Billie Van Huyse), Elizabeth (Annal) Coughlin (1884-1953) and Marguerite (Coughlin) Schofield (1904-1984)

Add caption

Ruth (Gray) Coughlin (1907-1987), Art Schofield (1901-1981), Evelyn (Pucino) Shea (1925-2016) , Margaret R. (Coughlin) Pucino (1899-1964)

Evelyn (Pucino) Shea (1925-2016) , Art Schofield (1901-1981), Ruth (Gray) Coughlin (1907-1987)

Evelyn (Pucino) Shea (1925-2016) with Canadian soldiers at the barracks
September 4, 1944 - Labor Day

I love that these three women embarked on "women-only trip to Canada" to visit their kin in Michigan and Ontario.

September 4, 1944 was Labor Day and, globally, World War II had been raging for five years and would continue for another year before ending.

The Windsor Daily Star Sept. 4, 1944
A Special Bond With The Schofields

The majority of photographs in Evelyn's September 4, 1944 album show William, Lawrence and Elizabeth Coughlin and Art and Marguerite Schofield.

Michigan cousin Gail had written to me that "Aunt Marguerite was very good about keeping in touch with Evelyn and Jim"

And I learned from our Connecticut cousin Dan Coughlin that:
"In the 1960’s I visited some of the Michigan relatives (Margaret Schofield) and the Coughlins in Windsor, Ontario during a summer vacation trip with my parents and again with Evelyn (Pucino) Shea (daughter of Margaret Coughlin Pucino), her husband Jim Shea and daughter Margie Shea. "
And from our Connecticut cousin Kathleen I learned that she remembers her grandmother (Margaret (Coughlin) Pucino 1899-1964) speaking often of Marguerite (Coughlin) Schofield (1904-1964). It seems that Margaret and Marguerite had a special bond.

Our Connecticut cousin sent us additional photos from other visits.

I have written about Dan Coughlin's (1874-1948) trip to Michigan in May 1941 when the Coughlin family recorded the vinyl record that was labelled , "Mom & Dad & Uncle Danny & family" and dated Sunday, May 4, 1941 and I wonder if that's when this photo of the two brothers was taken?

Thank you Connecticut Cousins 
and Thank you Evelyn 

I have said many times how the highlight of 2018 has been breaking through my Coughlin/Poughkeepsie genealogical "brick wall" in my family history research, but the greatest highlight of all has been connecting with our long lost cousins who have shared so much of our family history with us.

Thanks Kathleen. Thanks Daniel. Thanks Evelyn.

From Evelyn's 2016 Obituary: 

"Evelyn had a strong faith in God and was an active parishioner of St. Mary Church in Coventry where, at every event, she could be found in the kitchen cooking and making fried dough. She lived her faith through service including as a Eucharistic minister.

She was proud of her Italian heritage. Long after she prepared the family recipe for meatballs for the last time, she continued to share the stories and music of her childhood. She will always be remembered by those whose lives she so lovingly touched.

In addition to her husband, James, Evelyn is survived by many nieces and nephews including Daniel Coughlin and Kathleen Hutson. She was predeceased by her daughter, Marguerite (1953-1976); and two brothers, John J. (1920-1983) and Daniel A. Pucino.(1923-1960)"

Evelyn is buried at St. Mary Cemetery in Coventry, Connecticut 

Connecticut and Poughkeepsie Coughlins:
The Michigan & Ontario Coughlins

Additional Photos From Our Connecticut Cousins

More Photographs from the collections of our Poughkeepsie and Connecticut cousins
 Here are just a few more photos that were so generously shared with us from our Connecticut cousin
The Ontario Coughlins: Rhea, Bessie, Gretta, William, Viola, Lawrence and Elizabeth

The Coughlins: Lawrence, Elizabeth (Annal), Art Schofield, Betty, Junior and Eileen

The Coughlins

The Cooughlins: Elizabeth (Annal), Rhea and
Ernie Moynahan, daughter Patricia and William Coughlin

Lawrence and Vicky Coughlin

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The Moynahan/Minahan Family of St. Thomas, Ontario

Have you ever heard of the "Genealogist Rabbit Hole". It's a phrase used to describe what happens when a genealogist get curious and one thing leads to another until you realize that hours have passed, you haven't eaten, the laundry did NOT get done but you made incredible progress filling in more blanks on your family tree! This is how my morning started today.

I saw a name in my "Ancestor Calendar" and I become curious about "Margaret C. Moynahan" who died on September 2. I then looked at her details on my tree.

The only thing that I knew about Margaret C. Moynahan is that she died on September 2nd, 1917 at two years of age in St. Thomas, Ontario and her parents were John M.(1889-1954) and Annie (Fielding) Minahan (1891-1981).

I looked more closely at her death certificate.

Source: Archives of Ontario; Toronto, Ontario, Canada;
Series: MS935; Reel: 230
Margaret died of  "Enterocolitis" and "Exhaustion Anemia" at such a young age. Her grieving parents (John Matthew and Annie) were descendants of the our Tilbury Moynahans (Ontario) in our family tree.

Margaret's father, John Matthew Moynahan/Minahan (1889-1954), was the nephew of my great-great grandfather Jeremiah Moynahan (1837-1922)

Source: Moynahan AncestryFamily Tree
Margaret's father, John Matthew Moynahan/Minahan (1889-1954), was the first cousin to my great grandfather John Moynahan.

So Where Did This Rabbit Hole Take Me?

Because I knew Margaret's death date, I found her headstone at Elmdale Memorial Park Cemetery in St Thomas, Ontario and from her headstone, I was able to fill in more details about the entire Minahan family including a son that I had not located previously.

Kathleen Minahan Headstone; Elmdale Memorial Park Cemetery; St Thomas, Ont.
Photograph taken by CanGenWeb volunteer Kate Ford
and gratefully used with permission
CanadaGenWeb Cemetery Project: Minahan search

 The Last of the St. Thomas Minahans/Moynahans

I am driven to tell the stories of my ancestors and this story is important to me because this particular branch of our family tree ends in St. Thomas, Ontario.

There are no descendants left to tell their stories because two of the children died young and the surviving child died in 1986 unmarried.

 The St Thomas Minahans/Moynahans

The Tilbury branch of our family tree often appear in historical records with variant "Moynahan" surnames spellings. I am not entirely sure why that is. It could be an education issue or a record-keeper issue. This has happened many times in my research.

For the purpose of this post, I will tell this part of their story using the "Moynahan" spelling.

John Matthew Moynahan (1889-1954) was born in Tilbury, Ontario the 9th child and LAST born son of  Matthew Moynahan (1835-1910) and Catherine Carr (1845-1927) on the 26th of September 1889.

Family Group Sheet for Matthew Moynahan and Catherine Carr, Tilbury, Ontario
 John Matthew (1889-1954) married Annie Alice Fielding in Tilbury, Ontario on December 6, 1910 (by license). John's father Matthew Moynahan (1835-1910) passed away the following spring.

On the 1911 census, John Matthew Minahan is living with his new bride next to the Fielding family on Yonge St., in Tilbury, Ontario.

When we find the family living in St. Thomas, Ontario (census 1921, Voters List 1935, Voters List 1940) John Matthew is working as a fireman and lineman on the railroad (M.C.R.R.) in St. Thomas, Ontario.

When John Matthew died on the 15th of March 1954 he was the last living of all of his siblings and his obituary appeared in the St. Thomas Times-Journal on Page 7 (C5) on the 16th of March with his photograph.

St. Thomas Times-Journal on Page 7 (C5) on the 16th of March; Source: with thanks to the Elgin Branch: Ontario Genealogical Society

Matthew and Annie had three (four?) children
  • Kathleeen (the subject of this post): died on the 2nd of September 1917
  • Arthur: died on the 7th of December 1923
  • Sarah Catherine: was born in 1911 and died in 1986. 
  • Betty mentioned in obituaries (no records located)
Arthur Minahan Headstone; Elmdale Memorial Park Cemetery; St Thomas, Ont.
Photograph taken by CanGenWeb volunteer Kate Ford
and gratefully used with permission

Anna (Fielding) Moynahan died in 1981. She was the daughter of Edward Fielding (1854-1896) and Sarah Catherine Lickman (b 1863). She died in 1981 and I am trying to locate her obituary and will share here if found.

Source: St Thomas JOurnal; with thanks to the Elgin Branch: Ontario Genealogical Society

Minahan Family Headstone; Elmdale Memorial Park Cemetery; St Thomas, Ont.
Photograph taken by CanGenWeb volunteer Kate Ford
and gratefully used with permission

I feel privileged and grateful to have fallen down this rabbit hole today because it enabled me to tell the story of our kin who once lived in St. Thomas, Ontario and were laid to rest in the Elmdale Memorial Park Cemetery.

I also feel thankful for volunteers like Kate Ford at CanGenWeb's Cemetery Project who donate their time to provide photographs that unlock many doors for family historians like me.

Obituary Margaret C. Minahan who died on September 2nd, 1917 at two years of age in St. Thomas, Ontario; Source: with thanks to the Elgin Branch: Ontario Genealogical Society

 St. Thomas Links
    Source: Elgin County Archives; Catherine Minihan pictured lower left
Source: Elgin County Archives; Catherine Minihan pictured lower left