Sunday, October 23, 2011

CORNWALL, Morwenstow. The Caledonia Shipwreck, Queen Scota?

There is a shipwreck site off Cornwall, the hapless "Caledonia" -- and a figurehead salvaged is, say some, Queen Scota who invaded ancient Ireland, leading her bands of warriors and founding lines of kings.  See Scota, or Scotia, as queen of the tribe of Scotti who then, pressed into Ulster, commenced to raid and then settle in Scotland and fight with Picts against Rome.  Is all that so?  See

Here she is, as found at Morwenstow, Cornwall, (fair use thumbnail) at

The issue of which tribes came from where and did what can never be settled where the bases are oral tradition and legend, then, again, they cannot be totally disregarded.  And, creativity is always in style, see  A more scholarly approach is at

Ancient Ireland.  Cornwall would have been well known to ancient navigators, whether ships were headed to parts unknown and ending up in Ireland, or not. Milesians:  First through Spain, perhaps from the middle east, to Ireland, and Albany -- old name for Scotland.  Is all this fantastic? See

Saturday, September 17, 2011

DEVON, Westward Ho, Resident WWI, Major William McConaghy RAMC and World War I

Major William McConaghy RAMC
Boer War

"Seconded" to the Egyptian Army, WWI
Fernwood, Westward Ho, Devon.
died at Sea (Red Sea) while seconded. 
Buried at Suez
Plaque Memorial,  old Khartoum Cathedral, Sudan

Service at Hejaz, Hijaz, Hedjaz Railway (WWI - Lawrence  of Arabia was attacking it)
Reference found: Letter to McConaghy about interrogation of prisoners. 
Sources being researched.

Learn history by looking up family members who lived and died in its roll.  Personalize a conflicts, the culture, and it lives. Here, at Westward Ho, a small town (apparently a prosperous one)  boy grows up, engages in military and medical very serious matters WWI.  We are tracing relative William McConaghy's military history.  Several of us are pursuing different angles:  his service record remains a mystery as to his actual work while "seconded" to the Egyptian Army in WWI.

 Another relative, Violet, received a handwrtten letter from a  Col. A. J. Tennuci, Curator at the RAMC Historical Museum, England, see it at She reports that the Colonel wrote, in part,
"There is great difficulty in tracing information on this officer.... However, ...we can confirm that he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for operations in Egypt and Hedjaz in connection with military operations."  

Note the D in Hedjaz.  Spellings in translation vary. Research all.

Then, in 1977, a Research Officer at the National Army Museum, London, see it at, wrote,
"His service documents will not yet be released out of copyright restrictions." 
What?? Our family chronicler stopped there.

Fog and all, meet Major William McConaghy, RAMC, Royal Army Medical Corps, born 1881 in Poona (now Puna), India. His story parallels many who grew up in and out of the colonial era.

William, a son of  Surgeon-General William McConaghy, served in South Africa. World War I:  "BEF France" (British Expeditionary Force) 1914, and was earlier wounded in France.

See the record of him, wounded:  But is this "our" William?

  • This William is a Private -- not likely for the William McConaghy medical doctor.  
  • See the reference for the "private" at Dungannon [between Omagh and Belfast] Presbytery, Presbyterian Church in Ireland.  The Private lived at Union Place in Dungannon, was a Private at the time, and is listed in the "Dungannon Second",  see  role of honor, 1914-1919 (this William McConaghy, probably not ours, lived in Ireland.  Need more info. Our William may well still have resided in India, or with his wife, Mary Birdwood McConaghy in Devon?

Not ours:  This McConaghyWilliam
Union PlacePrivateR. In. Fus.Wounded

See link to that other William McConaghy as a Private at

Still looking for William. Our William served and died as "seconded" to the Egyptian Army, buried in Suez War Memorial Cemetery, memorial plaque in the old Khartoum Cathedral.

I.  It is William McConaghy RAMC "seconded" to the Egyptian Army that interests us. 

What is that.
And the "Hejaz" - its railway was a focal point of Lawrence of Arabia's activities in WWI.  

Find pictures of it at  And it is his role in Arabia that interests us.  What was that?

A.  Pursuit in Arabia, no idea of outcome yet.

Was William serving at Hejaz at the same time that Lawrence of Arabia was attacking the railroad there? While seconded to the Egyptian Army?

B.  Is this letter addressed to him, document identified as letter to "McConaghy".

II.  This leads to the next issue: 

What was the letter from Lt. Col Charles Pierce Joyce, about interrogations of prisoners, 
to "McConaghy""

See the National Archives and this mystery entry at Joyce, Lt. Col. Pierce Charles 1878-1965, at the King's College,  London, Liddell Hart Centre for Military Records, at
 Liddell Hart - famous military strategist, for "indirection" see
  • Here is the entry, and the topic is "about interrogation of prisoners.": 
  • That is logical, for a medical matter, letter to Dr. McConaghy -- suggesting something or what?
  •  Is this a letter related to the Hejaz Railway issue WWI (Lawrence of Arabia attacks even, asks our imagination)  to our McConaghy or another? But we see no other McConaghy in the military records for those "seconded" to the Egyptian Army.  Need to find out more.
"[no title] JOYCE/1/42 [1917 Feb 1-5] 
Contents:  To McConaghy. About interrogation of prisoners. D 20"

Where to look next:
  • Go to the King's College Archives to try to find that letter to a "McConaghy" -
  • Go to General enquiries - listed here so I can find it again. The letters are not online, apparently.  It takes a request, not being started.         
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 1978 / 2689
Fax: +44 (0)20 7848 1989

Centre for e-Research
King's College London
3rd Floor, 26-29 Drury Lane
London WC2B 5RL

What will show?

Update:  Here is the response, very expensive for hobby, family request.  Converting pounds to dollars for this kind of thing can be open-ended, with high fees. We have not decided whether to pay, because payment in British pounds is additionally expensive and complex.  Who out there is going to Kings College?  Just go get it.  When you find out, let us know.

See FN 1 at the very, very end.

Another side of those seconded to the Army of Egypt in WWI?  No wonder we ask why-what?  But if his work was primarily there, how was he killed at sea, with a plaque in his honor in Sudan. 

The Memorial plaque to William McConaghy reads, according to a family chronicler, this inscription verified as in the Memorial Book, and that would mean that the plaque itself was in the Cathedral, but that building is no longer the Cathedral:

"In memory of Major William McConaghy, MB, DSO, RAMC
Attached to the Egyptian Army
Died at Sea on July 4, 1918
Aged 37 years."

That Cathedral was confiscated, and relocated, see  Were the memorial plaques also moved.

B.  Our information so far

1.  Biography of William McConaghy -

William McConaghy, MB, DSO, RAMC.  Major William McConaghy. Start with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission at  That will only locate the grave, however, and basic identification. Find him in the Royal Army Medical Corps at

Other known designations:
MB -  (Military, British? looking)
DSO - Distinguished Service Order
RAMC - Royal Army Medical Corps

Look for more. Find rolls of honour for counties or schools, if known.  We went to Hertfordshire, a site we found through his Haileybury College, Hertfordshire, website.  Go to  Up will come the A's.  Scroll down fast to the very bottom of the page and find where to click for the Medical Staff Who Died During Conflict Search Page.

Fill in McConaghy.

So far so good:  He is the cousin we already know, of Lt. Col. Maurice Edwin McConaghy-McConaghey who died in WWI in 1917 at Arras.  Now for William:

1.1 He was a major, hospital or area is unknown; died "Red Sea", died 4 July 1918,

1.2 He was born 12, July 1881, born Poona India, conflict WWI 1914-1919, Son of W. B. McConaghy (that would be Mary Birdwood McConaghy, she the daughter of General C. Birdwood, and from Fernwood, Westward Ho, Devon, England); and the the late Surgeon-General William McConaghy (he was in the IMS India, born 1845, died 1905, London)

We already know he got his MD at the University of Edinburgh.


What is Hejaz?   see area of Arabia at The railway here, Damascus Syria to Madina [or Medina?], Saudi Arabia, was damaged by Lawrence of Arabia 1914-1918, see

Was William there?

1.4 Details

Red Cross Unit - RAMC


Cousin Maurice McConaghy was also in South Africa - so we aren't pursuing that here. For those with an interest in the later WWI Somme and Ypres Salient, where Maurice served and died, you might want also to see the film, "War Horse" -- graphic, and historically accurate in at least this respect;  German trenches used wicker woven walls as supports, and the British used planking.  That difference is shown.


2.  Basic question:  "Seconded" to the Egyptian Army. What was Major William McConaghy M.D. doing in Egypt in WWI? 

2.1  Narrative sites, not official records found yet:

See site
  • "Centurion" writes (not vetted, just presented for review)
"Up to 1914 Egypt was technically an autonomous part of the Turkish Empire and although there was a Khedive who was British 'advising' the ruler the legal fiction was that he was doing this on behalf of the Turkish Sultan. As an autonomous region it had its own army which had British 'advisors' seconded to it (one of the most notable being a certain General Gordon). When WW1 broke out technically Egypt was on the side of the Central Powers so Britain declared it a protectorate. This left the Egyptian army in a slightly peculiar position and it was restricted to a role of assisting the civil power and protecting those parts of Egypt not facing the Turkish army - this meant defending againt Sennusi raids etc."   
  • And "stevebecker" at same site writes,

    "The British raised a number of units for the Egyptian Army to assist them in controling the Western and Southern Egypt during the War.

    "Many British and Commonweath soldiers were seconded to these units and I have a large number of aussies being made 2/Lt's in the Egyptian Camel Transport Corps. These were used to bring supplies to other Egyptian units and British units in the Western and Southern Egypt. There is also record of these being used in the Sinai to assist the advance to Palestine.

    "Egypt used its Army as stated above to conrol there outer areas these included the Sudan where Egyptian soldiers and Camel Companies operated against the Senssi and the Sutan of Dufar. These were filled with many British offciers and NCO's to help them and no dought to keep an eye on them.

    "During the Egyptian rebelion of 1919 I can find no units of the Egyptian Army involved directly in this upriasing by the native Egyptians, althought soldiers on leave or such may have taken part?"
That is the story so far.  Now to find where he was in the British Expeditionary Force 1914, where he was wounded.  There must be a book based on the logs, as we found for his cousin, Maurice - The Royal Scots Fusiliers by John Buchan


FN 1  How to get a copy of the correspondence to the doctor, "McConaghy",  about interrogation of prisoners, in the Hejaz, WWI

Thank you for your email regarding copies from the papers of Lt Col Pierce Charles Joyce.
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Kind regards,
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We are not King Tut here.  Is anyone interested, for history? We still may, but this is a big deal.

Monday, July 11, 2011

LONDON. Borough, County, City. London. Westminster Abbey. History, Royal Wedding, Immigration, Mithra Elements

Westminster Abbey
A Window on History, a Royal Wedding, Immigration, and
 William and Kate Marry
Photos, Side Issues

Westminster Abbey Boy's Choir. Assimilation, immigration, colonialism in the positive.
1.  On location.

London:  A City of vast history, remaining its own distinct entity, divided into several London Boroughs, rather than participating in an overall county system.  Counties and boroughs. Those apparently in the know say that parts of London may happen to be in a particular county geographically, it may be in another London borough economically. See  And a basic source,

2.  An Event.  The Wedding.

London is, of course, the site of Royals.  Here is our update on London:  a look at old Mithraism showing there, the Telly and the Wedding, Immigration seen in Westminster Abbey, and Hats.  We sat with coffee, in bed, snapping pix.  Credits. Photos by This Commoner at the Telly, fair use of tiny snaps. Wavy lines by Telly people going up and down the screen probably to discourage home photos.  Undaunted, see here,
  • The Balcony Kiss. 
  • Topics at the wedding: 
    • Integration and immigration at the Boys' Choir,
    • Mithraism
    • The Telly and Changing mores (Elton John);
    • Institutional religion's compromises with Mithraism early on, leading to non-christian beliefs.
    • Hats.  These also attend the Wedding:  Royal, Wedding, Commoner, Clergy and Queen Victoria. 
 Then the rest of the wedding. Telly view of wedding.

I.  Events After Westminster

Best first. Nice cuppa, a little toast, a few pillows and enjoy. This, in case you could not tell, is a Commoner's home.

Snap, snap. Have to get between the sliding black line always going up, like a barrier at a wooden duck shoot at a carnival.

William, after.

Hats on the balcony.  Whose hat to the left? Camilla? Okay.  She's entitled.

And, before the momentous topics, see the couple on to live their lives, like the rest of us, but different.

II.  Real Life Observations at Westminster
Common global issue:  immigration, multinationalism, cultural identity, religious hold-overs that hold us all back.

Immigration. Assimilation, forced, encouraged, none.  Ethnic identity. Gains, losses for whom, what. 

Regular photos at section III.  As to multiethnicity,  England did it, at least for the course of the musical section of the wedding. Chorister choice.  Depends on voice and talent, as it should

The Boys' Choir.

Some 30 boys are in the Boys Choir at Westminster Abbey, see ; they attend the Choir School there, see  There is also the adult male choir.  Ladies need not apply.

Can any country with a colonial past, or one that thinks itself superior to others, ever foster opportunity for others, while retaining the best of our heritage, and letting others do the same with theirs.  

Not assimilated.  

Women can and do teach and do other staff positions at the School, see sites and photos above. Typical selectivity under the guise of "history." So, it is indeed historical (hysterical?) that certain parts of anatomy are determinative -- more important to whether someone has opportunity to serve, than talent and smarts.

Yet the prevalence of ruffles suggests ambivalence. History crossed gender lines, but no on admits it.


See FN 2; and an overview of Mithraism.  Was that among the first major religious system that excluded women from participation, that primary religion of Rome, old as 2800 BCE.  It appears that that element, among others of the old Roman State Religion, its militance, administrative skill, turf interest, was simply absorbed in order to get more converts for salesman Paul, regardless of its consistency with theology of the new Founder, whom Paul never knew.

Our traditions are more Paulian influenced Mithra, to woo Rome;  than Christian, so it would appear.

So there it probably is.  It appears that discrimination against women was not Jesus' idea, but was Paul compromising on theology with the Mithraists.  Anything to get a convert, even misrepresenting a founder and twisting into a new doctrine.

Faith restored:  Music of a different kind, to a different drummer. Welcome.

New York will permit them to marry now.  Either way.  Their choice.

Now:  Hats.  The Mitre.

 What do the ribbons on the clergy signify?  Curls?  Long hair?  What is the history of the mitre, the hat with two pointies.

These were Church of England clergy, but the two-horned mitre has a long history in the Roman Catholic church from which the protestants Sprang for various reasons.  See its pagan origins at  That site tracks the two-horned mitre to the priests of Dagon, fish god of the Philistines. See also  Of interest also are the vestiges of gnosticism, dualism that had been declared "heretic" because texts were interpreted other than the Roman orthodox wanted, see about horns of Mithra at FN 1

Bride's hat:  veil.  Everyman's history is at  The sites are commercial, so need to find a more historical view.

Bishop's hat:  Mitre from top view, all red inside. Now, that is weird and rather suggestive.

Other hats attract other kinds of attention.

Boaters will slide by, allowing attention to focus on the main event.  The danger of a snaky hat is that people will look at the hat and be more interested in it,  than in who you are. Which of Fergie's are you?

The Coach. To the Palace. William and Kate wedding

William about to step into the carriage.  Prince's hat, military.  Is that the Welsh Guard?

More royal hats.  And, in the Commoner's area, is that Queen Victoria?  It looks like a Queen Victoria crown.

III.  Westminster Abbey, The Rest of the Wedding

William and Kate. Surely we should not be on first name bases with royalty.  But it is more convenient than titles, when one has one and the other does not, yet. Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after, but before that, Prince William and Commoner Kate? 

Most self-explanatory -- 

William entering carriage, Westminster Abbey

Telly view.  Excellent.

FN 1  Mitre and the Two-Horned Hat

Why do traditional churches keep women out, but wear their clothes. Keep the part of history that bolsters your own status, but forget the rest. Progress only on fronts that benefit.  Pass on the ruffles, for a religion founded by an anti-authoritarian itinerant pauper. Wealth.  Hoard it. Show it. Maybe we need that?

Do we?  We do know that the status of women in the Christian church, the traditional ones, is Outside.

Check your theological history.

This reflects, perhaps, Paul's need to placate the Mithra-ists of Rome, Mithraism as the State Religion before Christianization; and that took centuries.  In about 300-400 CE Christianity was adopted (Constantine as emperor 306-337 CE) and a tenet of Mithraism was no participation by women, and much secrecy. The bull (see the double horned hat here?) also featured. See  Click around for history, see also

See also Horns of Mithra, or other meaning, at Church of Saint Mary in Gdansk, Poland

Black Madonna, Horns of Mithra? Cathedral of St. Mary, Gdansk, Poland