Armoral Olive Morgan

Armoral Olive Morgan was born in 1895 the youngest daughter of Thomas and Margaret Morgan.

Possibly Armoral Morgan in 1911 - from her brother's album

Possibly Armoral Morgan in 1911 – from her brother’s album

At age 13 she was bridesmaid at her brother William Henry Morgan‘s wedding. There exist a number of likely photos of her but they are all unlabelled, One photo shows a young girl with a bouquet as described in the newspaper report – that would be 1908. It is next to the attached photo that is also most likely Armoral in about 1911.

On 28 Dec 1916 she married John Cecil D’Arcy in the Catholic Church in Ilford. John Darcy was from Capetown and at the time a serving private in the South African Scottish Regiment. It is likely he had seen some fairly devastating action at the battle for Delville Wood in July 1916. This heroic defensive action saw 75% of the whole South African Brigade annihilated.

The address given by John D’Arcy on the marriage certificate is Battle Squadron Cavalry Command Depot, Eastbourne. It also states that his peacetime job was a ‘Railway Upholsterer’. The Command Depot was used as a staging post for wounded serviceman. It is not clear how seriously wounded he was and whether he was ever fit again to return to the Brigade. It seems unlikely. How he met Armoral and married her in the atmosphere of the war is not known.

After more heavy action in Northern France in 1917 and 1918 at Arras and the third battle of Ypres, the South African regiments were disbanded a few days before the armistice on Nov 1918.

Armoral was 21 on her marriage, John Darcy 24. In late 1917 Armoral had a daughter called Armoral M D’Arcy.

The next date we know for certain is that Armoral, John and baby Armoral all set sail from Plymouth for ‘permanent residence’ in South Africa on 12 Aug 1918 aboard the SS Mandala. The date would suggest that John was demobbed early, because of his condition, and allowed home.

Desmond and Armoral D'Arcy in South Africa - Xmas 1924

Desmond and Armoral D’Arcy in South Africa – Xmas 1924

Armoral’s second child Desmond Cecil D’Arcy was born in South Africa on 16 Dec 1923.

The Photo Card picture of Desmond and Armoral is dated Xmas 1924 and sent to her sister-in-law Emma and brother William Morgan. On the reverse it says

East London

To Dear Emma & Will & children wishing for a happy Xmas from Armoral Johnnie and children with love. Xmas 1924

In common with many soldiers on the front, John Cecil D’Arcy, despite surviving the war, failed to live on in the peace. It is recorded that Armoral, a widow, and her two children returned to Plymouth on the Dunluce Castle on 2 Apr 1930. No details of his death or its causes have yet been found.

Armoral returned to Ilford, where her mother and brother lived. She was remarried in 1936 to Alfred Edmund Hughes, a 58 year old widower and former Railway clerk. Alfred died on 18 Apr 1940 at 81 Albert Road Ilford.

Armoral herself died at 81 Albert Road, aged 68, on 15 May 1963.

Sources and Notes

  • see UK Passenger Lists – Ancestry.com
  • Armoral was not the only one to marry a Catholic – her sister Dolly had married John James Kilcullen in Montreal in Nov 1914
Last updated on November 23, 2017 by JJ Morgan