Saturday, 21 January 2012

What's in a Name - Malcolm 'Moltke' Magill?


A few weeks ago a friend mentioned the name Malcolm Magill MM, Malcolm is named in "Three Cheers for The Derrys!", a history of the 10th (Derry) Battalion based on the recollections of veterans Jim Donaghy and Leslie Bell.

Malcolm (aged 18) appears in the 1901 Census in the Townparks in Magherafelt along with his father James (52), mother Eliza (50) and siblings John (31), James (25) and Thomas (16); his occupation is shoemaker.

He appears in the 1911 Census as Moltke Magill (27) in Rainey Street, Magherafelt, along with his father James (64), mother Eliza (65) and siblings Jas P (42) and Thomas (25); his occupation is bootmaker. James and Eliza are 43 years married and have eight children, all living.

A closer look at the handwritten census shows that Jas P is Jno P - Jno being an abbreviation for John. John P Magill appears in the 1910 Ulster Towns Directory for Magherafelt:

Orange Institution—O'Hara Purple Guards L.O.L., No. 310—John P. Magill W.M.; W. J. M'Cart, D.M.; Samuel Porter, jun., sec.; Wm. Hutchinson, treasurer. Meetings, first Monday in each month

Can anyone shed any light as to how Malcolm acquired the Moltke* nick-name? Are any family relations still living around Magherafelt? How did he achieve his Military Medal?

[* Moltke is the surname of two high ranking Prussian/German army officers of that era: Helmuth von Moltke the Elder was a Field Marshall and Helmuth von Moltke the Younger served as Chief of the General Staff.]

If you can add additional details please get in touch:

Added July 4, 2016

I've just recently received a response from the grandson of a younger brother of Malcolm 'Moltke' Magill. It contains the following comment:

As yesterday was the anniversary of the Somme I tried to find out more about Malcolm. I always knew him as "uncle Malachy". He won the Military Medal I believe for grenading the German trenches. 

I was wondering if you ever got an answer to your post in 2012 as to why he got the nickname "Moltke"?

I've not had any other follow-up on the nickname but I sent the following images:

I also sent some additional details of Malcolm's birth. He was born in the townland of Mullaghboy on the northern outskirts of Magherafelt on 2 April 1883 and his parents were James Magill and Martha Philips.

A second email contained this reply:

Very nice of you to send these records which I have never seen. I may be in touch with my brother in the coming year. He has done some research. If I find out anything I will let you know.

I am, by the way, living in Adelaide, South  Australia.