Tuesday, 27 December 2016

15901 Sergeant Thomas Arthur CONDRON (1898 - 1918)

Sergeant Thomas Arthur CONDRON (service no. 15901) was killed when he crashed his plane near Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, on 5 February 1918.

The Hull Daily Mail for Friday 8 Feburary 1918 reported:

A fatal accident occurred to a young airman in Lincolnshire on Tuesday. He had just passed over one of the villages at a high altitude, and appeared to be making a good flight under ideal conditions. He then commenced to come down, and when within 100 ft. or less of the ground the biplane appeared to suddenly tilt sideways and crash to earth. A farm foreman, followed by another farm hand, found the unfortunate man with the engine on top of him. His injuries were serious, and he passed away in a few minutes without regaining consciousness. At the inquest it transpired that the deceased was a second-class mechanic, named T. Condron, of South Farnborough, Hants, and 19 years of age. The jury returned a verdict of Accidental death, and complimented the man Hird upon his praiseworthy conduct.

The Aldershot Military Gazette for Friday 15 February 1918 reported:

The funeral of Sergeant Thomas Arthur Condron, 19, son of Mr. and Mrs. Condron, of Queen's Road, Farnborough, took place at the Military Cemetery on Saturday with full military honours, the bands of the R.F.C. and A.S.C. attending. Intimate companions of the deceased from Brooklands, Weybridge, acted as pall-bearers.

The young man met his death at Blyton, near Gainsborough, on Tuesday, 5th inst., whilst on his qualifying flight for his pilot's certificate. He was well known and respected in Farnborough, being a server at St. Mark's Church and a member of the Club, joining up in November, 1916. He was a very keen pupil, untiring in his work, promising and fearless and never failing to obtain an excellent report from his flight commanders. 

The following is one of the many letters received by [the] deceased's parents, and shows the high appreciation and esteem in which he was held:-

61 Gordon Mansions 
Francis Street, W.C.1
7th Feb. 1918.

Dear Mrs. Condron- It was with very great regret that I learnt to-day of your son's fatal accident, and wish to express to you and your family my sincerest sympathy in your trouble. 

Your son was in my Flight. He was a very keen pupil and took a delight in doing whatever duty he was detailed for - he was always asking to go up, and his one aim was to get his wings as soon as possible. He was always a cheery youngster - it did one a lot of good to see his bright face, when feeling blue. I only wish I could have men like him around me always. I was very interested in him, and I am sure he would have turned out an excellent pilot. 

Had I been able, I should have liked to attend his funeral to-morrow, but unfortunately it is not possible; but I will be with you [in] spirit. 

Again assuring you of my sincerest sympathy. - I remain, sincerely yours,


The RAF Museum Storyvault has images of two handwritten Casualty Cards which give further details. They record his flight commander's remarks as follows: "On Feb. 5th 1918, at 11.45am I sent 2/am [2nd class air mechanic] T. Condron up on F.E.2.B A5612 [the type of aircraft]. The engine gave 1175 Revs. on the ground. He was up 1 Hr. and crashed 4 miles from Gainsboro'. He appears to have stalled the mach[ine] while attempting a forced landing, for reasons unknown." They also record the verdict of the Court of Inquiry, which seems to have occurred on Aug. 20th 1918: "The court having carefully considered the evidence are of the opinion that the acc[ident] was caused by 2/am Condron stalling his mach[ine] to avoid a tree when attempting to land in a field for some unknown cause."

Thomas Arthur CONDRON was born in 1898 and his birth was registered in the Hartley Wintney Registration District of Hampshire, England.  He was the fifth child born to Andrew and Jane Emily CONDRON. The 1911 census of England shows him, a schoolboy aged 12, living at Marlborough Lines, Aldershot, with his mother and three sisters. At the time of his death in 1918,  he was a 2nd-class air mechanic in the 199th (Night Training) Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps, though various records also indicate that he was a sergeant. Could he have had both ranks? Thomas Arthur CONDRON is buried in the Aldershot Military Cemetery (grave ref. AF 2089).

His parents were married at St. Catherine's Church, Dublin (Church of Ireland) on Dec 7th 1888. His mother's name when she married was Jane Emily CONDRON (born c.1871) , the daughter of Michael CONDRON who was a Colour Sergeant in the 5th Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Jane Emily was born in Meerut, India, according to the 1911 census. There is some confusion about Thomas's father's name. The marriage record indicates that his name was Andrew CONDRON or MOLLOY (born c.1870 in Dublin, died 1940 in Surrey, England), the son of Andrew MOLLOY. At the time, Andrew junior was a Drummer in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. The marriage certificates of two of his daughters give his full name variously as Andrew Patrick Michal CONDRON and Andrew Arthur CONDRON.

Andrew and Jane Emily CONDRON had nine children: Florence Emily (born 1888), Michael Andrew (1890), Alice Violet (1895), Emily Christina (1896), Thomas Arthur (1898), Gladys Melita (1905), Mercia Alexandra (1907), Gertrude Jane (1910) and Constance Vera (1912). Their first four children were born in Dublin. As already noted, Thomas Arthur was born in England, as were Gertrude Jane and Constance Vera. Gladys Melita was born in Malta, and Mercia Alexandra was born in Alexandria, Egypt, presumably while Andrew was serving abroad with the military.

In addition to my usual sources, I am grateful for information about Thomas Arthur CONDRON found at the Royal Air Force Commands, RAF Museum Storyvault and Sussex History Forum web sites.

For other blog posts about CONDR*Ns in the First World War, click on "First World War" in the Labels list on the right of the blog web page. Comments and corrections welcome, either by leaving a comment below or by email to me: CONDRAN[AT]ONE-NAME.ORG .

Monday, 28 December 2015

36779 Private Herbert CONDRON (1892 - 1917)

Even after the Battle of Passchendaele (3rd Battle of Ypres) ended on 10 November 1917, the two sides continued to conduct operations in the area and to inflict and suffer casualties. Bellevue, to the west of the village of Passchendaele, had been the site of terrible casualties suffered by New Zealand forces during the Battle of Passchendaele. On the night of the 2/3 December 1917 the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment was ordered to move to Belle Vue (Bellevue) in support of the 96th and 97th Infantry Brigades. At 7pm on 3 December the Germans shelled Bellevue very heavily killing 2 and wounding 4 others, according to the war diary of the battalion. Probably, Private Herbert CONDRON was one of those killed then.

Private Herbert CONDRON (service no. 36779) was killed in action on 3 December 1917 in West Flanders, Belgium.

Herbert CONDRON born in 1892 in Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester. He was the 11th child of Hugh and Elizabeth Emma (née JACKSON) CONDRON. In the 1911 UK census,  he is living at home in Chorlton with his parents, two brothers and five sisters, and his occupation is recorded as "boot finisher casual". His war record shows that he served in the 26th Manchester Regiment, 11th Manchester Regiment and 2nd Manchester Regiment.

Herbert’s father Hugh CONDRON was born in 1852 in Manchester, and died in Manchester in 1934. His occupation is described in various censuses as "packer". He married Elizabeth Emma JACKSON in Manchester in 1872. The couple had thirteen children: Mary Jane (born 1873), Susannah (1874), Joseph (1876), John (1877), Hugh (1880), Elizabeth Emma (1882), Emily (1886), William (1886), Annie (1889), Bertha (1891), Herbert (1892), James (1894) and Lillie (1896).

Herbert's grandfather was Patrick CONDRON. Patrick was born in Dublin in about 1818, and died in Manchester in 1889. He married Susannah MULLIN in Manchester in 1844 and the couple had at least six children: Thomas (born 1847), Mary Ann (1848), John (1850), Hugh (1852), Susannah (1856) and Lucy (1860).

Herbert CONDRON is memorialized on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium.

For other blog posts about CONDR*Ns in the First World War, click on "First World War" in the Labels list on the right of the blog web page. Comments and corrections welcome, either by leaving a comment below or by email to me: CONDRAN[AT]ONE-NAME.ORG . 


Sunday, 16 November 2014

3956 Rifleman Michael CONDRON (1895 - 1917)

Unfortunately I do not know the circumstances of Michael CONDRON’s death, except that he died on 2 December 1917 and his name appears on the Tyne Cot Memorial in West Flanders, Belgium. I think it likely that he was killed in action near Passchendaele. The Battle of Passchendaele (also known as the Third Battle of Ypres) took place between July and November 1917 for control of the ridges south and east of the city of Ypres. The Allied forces captured Passchendaele in November, and the official end of the battle was 10 November 1917. However, FirstWorldWar.com states that on the 2 December 1917 there was “further fighting north of Passchendaele”. I suspect that it was in this action that Michael CONDRON was killed.

Rifleman Michael CONDRON (service no. 3956) was killed in action on 2 December 1917 in West Flanders, Belgium.

Michael Joseph CONDRON was born in 1895 in the Dublin City. He was the son of Patrick and Bridget (née MURTAGH) CONDRON. In the 1911 census he is living in his parent’s household in Summerhill, Mountjoy, Dublin, and his occupation is recorded as a “vanboy” delivering mineral water. The family was likely in a difficult financial situation: both his father and elder brother are recorded as being unemployed, while his other siblings are recorded as being at school; so Michael’s would have been the only salary coming into the household. Michael enlisted in the Royal Irish Rifles at Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. At some point he was awarded the Military Medal. At the time of his death in 1917 he was in the 1st Battalion, attached to the 25th Trench Mortar Battery.

Michael’s father Patrick CONDRON was born in about 1870. He married Bridget MURTAGH at St. Nicholas’s Roman Catholic Church, Dublin, on 9 February 1890. At the time of his marriage, Patrick’s occupation was “tobacco labourer”. His occupation is recorded in the 1901 and 1911 censuses respectively as “factory labourer” and “general labourer unemployed”. Patrick and Bridget had eight children: Margaret (born 1890), William Patrick (1892), Michael Joseph (1895), Patrick (1896), Terence Joseph (1899), Joseph (1901), Mary Jane (1904) and Christopher Joseph (1906).

Michael’s grandfather was William CONDRON. I know nothing of him except that, on Patrick CONDRON’s marriage certificate in 1890, William’s occupation is recorded as “shoemaker”.

Michael CONDRON is memorialized on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium.

For other blog posts about CONDR*Ns in the First World War, click on "First World War" in the Labels list on the right of the blog web page. Comments and corrections welcome, either by leaving a comment below or by email to me: CONDRAN[AT]ONE-NAME.ORG .  I would particularly welcome further information about Michael CONDRON's war service and where he died.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

3045 Private Humphrey CONDRAN (1893 - 1917)

The Battle of Messines was an offensive conducted by the British Second Army against the Germans near the village of Messines in West Flanders, Belgium. The objective was to capture the Messines-Wytschaete Ridge to the south of Ypres, which was in German possession and which threatened the south flank of the Allies-held Ypres salient. In preparation for the attack, British sappers dug tunnels and laid mines under the German front lines. The battle started early on the morning of 4 June 1917, the mines were detonated, British artillery began a creeping barrage of fire against the German defenses, and British tanks and infantry troops (including Australian and New Zealand forces) began the assault on the front lines.
The assault secured its objectives in the first twelve hours, and in the following days a German counter-offensive was resisted. The battle is generally reckoned to have been a tactical and operational success for the Allies. Nonetheless, by the end of battle on 14 June, casualties on each side amounted to about 25,000 men. The Allied losses included nearly 5,000 New Zealand casualties and 6,000 Australian casualties.
The Battle of Messines was a prelude to the much larger Third Battle of Ypres, which began the following month.

Private Humphrey N. A. CONDRAN (service no. 3045) was killed in action on 9 June 1917 in the Battle of Messines.

Humphrey Neville Austin CONDRAN (his second name is variously recorded as Neville, Netherval and Netwille) was born in Bundarra, New South Wales, in 1893, the sixth child of Thomas Henry and Ellen Winifred (née O’HERAN or O’HERAU) CONDRAN. Humphrey ("Humpsy") was a stock inspector at the time he enlisted in the Australian Infantry, 25th Battalion. He left Australia on the ship HMAT Itonus on 30 December 1915. At the time of his death, he was serving in the 47th Batallion. Sergeant White of 47th Battalion C Company reported, “Condran and Randall were both in my section XII platoon and were with Pte. T. Hara killed outright whilst on the advance at Messines going over to Owl Trench. They were killed by one shell and the pioneers buried them where they fell and erected crosses. I saw them killed.”

Humphrey’s father Thomas Henry CONDRAN was born in 1854, and died in 1911 in Murwillumbah, NSW. He was a policeman. He married Ellen Winifred O’HERAN in Maitland, NSW, in 1876. The couple had twelve children: Frederick (born 1877), Edwin Thomas (1878), Albert Clarence Clive (1880), Gertrude Jessie (1885), Pearl (1891), Humphrey Neville Austin (1893), Louis Osric (1895), Evelyn (1899), Dulcie (1902), Alma (1904), Victor (1908) and Roma Jean (1909).

Humphrey’s grandfather was Michael CONDRAN, who settled in Australia from Ireland. See CONDRANs in New South Wales.  

Humphrey CONDRAN is memorialized on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium.

For other blog posts about CONDR*Ns in the First World War, click on "First World War" in the Labels list on the right of the blog web page. Comments and corrections welcome, either by leaving a comment below or by email to me: CONDRAN[AT]ONE-NAME.ORG . 


Saturday, 28 June 2014

1914: one hundred years on

Exactly one hundred years ago today, on June 28th 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip. It was an event that quickly precipitated the start of the First World War (1914-1918).

I shall be taking a short summer break from my series of blog posts commemorating the 17 CONDR*Ns who gave their lives serving in that war. I have seven more still to write about.

On a happier note, I see from my database that there were 30 CONDR*Ns born in the British Isles in 1914: 15 in Ireland, 11 in England, 3 in Scotland and 1 in Wales. Of these, two were CONDRENs (one each in Northumberland and in County Kilkenny) and 28 were CONDRONs. The greatest concentration was in Dublin, with two born in Dublin North and three in Dublin South. The most popular boys' name was James (3) and the most popular girls' name was Margaret (3). Other names included Cecil, Herbert, Hubert, Irene, Ivy, Jessie and Olive.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

24941 Private Thomas CONDRON (1880 – 1917)

On 9 April 1917 the British armies in northern France embarked on what they hoped would be the decisive, final campaign of the war. On that date, British forces (including Canadian and Australian forces) attacked the German defensive lines to begin the Battle of Arras.

The shaded area shows the ground gained during the Battle of Arras. Courtesy of www.1914-1918.net .
The first day was a great success for the Allies. The Canadians attacked and captured a large part of Vimy ridge. Elsewhere, almost the whole of the German first-line front was captured. In particular, the 4th Division of the Third Army pushed forward and captured Fampoux, about 3 miles to the east of Arras.

The early successes were not sustained. From 10 April onwards, the Allies came up against renewed German resistance, and initially the artillery of the Third Army was too far back to support its infantry. Tanks were deployed but were too few in number to be effective. The 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, with a fighting strength of 20 officers and 617 men, was part of the 4th Division. The Battalion’s war diary notes that 11 April was a snowy morning. On that day, the Battalion was to push forward from a point north of Fampoux in an advance of over 2000 yards. However, the troops came under heavy fire and suffered severely. The Battalion lost 11 officers and 307 men in the action.

By the time the battle officially ended, the British had made significant advances but had failed to make the decisive breakthrough.

Private Thomas CONDRON (service 24941) died on 11 April 1917 in the Battle of Arras.

Thomas CONDRON was born in Dublin in about 1880 (possibly early 1881), the fourth child of Thomas and Anne (née WHELAN) CONDRON. In the 1911 census of Ireland, Thomas is recorded as a coal labourer and is living at home in Dublin with his widowed father, one brother and a married sister. Thomas moved to Scotland and married Susan COURTNEY in 1914 in Glasgow. The couple had three children: Thomas (born 1914), Michael (1915) and James Patrick (1917). Thomas joined the Royal Irish Fusiliers and was subsequently transferred to the 1st Battalion.

Thomas’s father was Thomas CONDRON, born in about 1853 in County Wexford. Thomas (senior) married Anne WHELAN in 1873 in the registration district of Gorey. The couple had seven children: Anne (1873) who married Patrick MITTEN, Michael (1876), Julia (1878) who married Denis McGRATH, Thomas (1880), Mary (1884) who married Michael CONNOLLY, Peter (1888) and Sarah (1891). Thomas (senior) was listed as a general labourer in the 1901 census and a brewery labourer in the 1911 census.

Thomas CONDRON is buried in Brown’s Copse Cemetery, Roeux, in northern France.

(Note that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has him wrongly listed as J. CONDRON and has his date of death as 16 April, though other sources give 11 April).

For other blog posts about CONDR*Ns in the First World War, click on "First World War" in the Labels list on the right of the blog web page. Comments and corrections welcome, either by leaving a comment below or by email to me: CONDRAN[AT]ONE-NAME.ORG .

Sunday, 11 May 2014

3046 Private Hugh CONDRON (1890 – 1916)

For my earlier postings about the Battle of the Somme, including the Battle of Pozières, click here.

Private Hugh CONDRON (service no. 3046) was killed in action on 18 August 1916 in the fight for Pozières during the Battle of the Somme.

Hugh Hume CONDRON was born in Boorhaman, Victoria, Australia, in 1890. He was the son of John CONDRON and Anne Maria WRIGHT.  He married Maud Agnes HAMILL in 1912. The couple had three children: Harold, Alan Thomas and Gladys Evelyn. Hugh enlisted on Jul 27, 1915, in Melbourne. After first being assigned to the 4th Depot Battalion, he was eventually transferred to the 8th Battalion, Australian Infantry (Australian Imperial Force - AIF).

Hugh's father was John CONDRON, who was born about 1835 and died in 1908 in Wangaratta, Victoria. John married Anne Maria WRIGHT in 1864 and the couple had a number of children, including Isabela (born 1871), Elizabeth (1873), William (1876), Robert (1879), George (1881), Henry (1884), James (1887), Hugh Hume (1890) and Harold Reginald (1893). All of the above children were born in Wangaratta, Victoria, except for Isabella who was born in Oxley, Victoria. According to one of my correspondents, the couple also had children Mary Agnus (1866) and John Thomas (1869), both born in Oxley. The report of John CONDRON's death in the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express (November 20, 1908) states, "Mr. John Condron, aged 73 years, died at his residence in Templeton Street. The deceased served as a gunner in the Indian mutiny." The Indian mutiny  took place in 1857.

Hugh's grandparents were Thomas and Elizabeth CONDRON. According to various online family trees, this couple are the same Thomas and Eliza (née McGOVERN) CONDRON who migrated from Co. Cavan, Ireland, and about whom I have blogged previously.

Hugh CONDRON is memorialized on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, in northern France.

For other blog posts about CONDR*Ns in the First World War, click on "First World War" in the Labels list on the right of the blog web page. Comments and corrections welcome, either by leaving a comment below or by email to me: CONDRAN[AT]ONE-NAME.ORG .  I would particularly like to receive firm evidence that John CONDRON is indeed the son of Thomas and Eliza (née McGOVERN) CONDRON.