Maurice and Mary Danaher On Opposite Sides.
Mary and Maurice Danaher were the children of William P Danaher and Ann Commane of Glenagore, Athea, Co Limerick. Mary Danaher was born on 29th January 1887 and Maurice around 1894 ( per Census 1901 ). There were four other brothers and sisters recorded in the 1901 census form including Philip 20, Johanna 12, Margaret 4, and John 2. Another sister Bridget aged 28 appears in the 1911 census while Mary, Maurice and Philip are missing from this return.
By 1911 Mary was training to be a nurse in the Mater Hospital, Dublin and was living at the Nurses Home at 88 Ranelagh Road, Dublin. Maurice was at boarding school in Roscrea, Co Tipperary. Mary had been a boarder at the Loretto Convent secondary school in Killarney before taking up nursing at the Mater Misercordiae Hospital on 25th August 1908 where she finished her training on 1st September 1912. At this point she seems to have taken up private nursing before applying to join the British Army as a nurse on 31st August 1915. Her application stated experience of Enteric Fever in the Fever Wing of the hospital and also indicates that her father had died since 1911. Her application was successful and she was posted to Egypt on 6th October 1915 where she served under The Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service.
Little is known about her time in Egypt where she spent 3 years and 7 days until her untimely death in Gaza, Palestine at the age of 31 on 12th October 1918. According to the medical records she took ill from dysentery and pneumonia on 4th September 1918 and her condition gradually worsened. A medical report on the cause of death recorded that ' In my opinion staff nurse Miss M Danaher died on Oct 12th 1918 as a result of (1) Bacterial Dysentery 2) Pneumonia entirely as a result of climate and active service '. She died without leaving a will. Her personal belongings and estate amounting to st£208-13-3 were forwarded to her mother Mrs Ann Danaher.
Why did Mary join the British Army ?. Was Private Nursing proving difficult to earn a living and was it the prospect of earning a better regular guaranteed income together with going overseas that lured her. I wonder what discussion she had with her Parents or her brother Maurice about it.
Meanwhile her younger brother Maurice was educated at Cistercian College, Roscrea / Mungret College, Limerick and University College Dublin. During his time at University he was active in the ' Volunteers ' during the War of Independence. He is recorded in various witness statements taken in subsequent years. See: bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie/ Maurice Danaher (Statement by Maeve McGarry, 31 Upper Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin. WS 826.)
Maurice went on to become a distinguished Barrister and continued to practice until the age of 87 just a year before he died in 1980. An obituary appeared in one of the national newspapers shortly after he died.
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