Captain Henry Doyle O’Donnell

Henry Doyle O’Donnell, Elizabeth Gardiner, and Patricia O’Donnell | Image courtesy of Jackie Weaver, England

Dad’s eldest brother Henry Doyle O’Donnell was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica on October 16, 1894. He was Dad’s half-brother from their mother’s first marriage. His father, Henry William O’Donnell (1857-1895), was known as “Harry”. Harry died late in 1895, just over three years after marrying my grandmother and little over a year after the birth of their son, Doyle, as he was known. Doyle would have been about eight years old when his mother remarried and he became part of my Jamaican Campbell family.

Henry Doyle O’Donnell Birth Registry

I can’t say much about Doyle’s childhood, other than to say that his step-father, my grandfather, was a generous man who reportedly loved Doyle’s mother dearly. And, knowing how well Papa treated other children for whom he acted as guardian, I can only assume Doyle had a normal loving childhood and upbringing.

On 7 January 1916, Doyle went to England with the Second War Contingent where he learned to be a pilot. As 2nd Lt. Henry Doyle O’Donnell, 3rd British West Indies, British Royal Flying Corps (RFC), he received his “ticket,” pilot’s license No. 4901, on 8 June 1917. Apparently, Doyle saw action in France during the First World War but became incapacitated by physical or mental injury or, perhaps, a combination of both.

2nd Lt. Henry Doyle O’Donnell

Pilot’s License No. 4901

As an aside: The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was in existence from 1912 to 1918. In July 1914 the RFC’s naval wing was detached to form the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). On 1 April 1918, the two services were merged again to form the Royal Air Force (RAF).

Doyle married and remained in the United Kingdom until his untimely death. Thanks to a fortuitous contact I made on the Internet—Jackie Weaver, who is married to the grandson of Henry Doyle O’Donnell, Papa’s stepson—I learned about his family and received pictures and newspaper clippings covering his wedding and the inquest into his death.

Doyle & Elizabeth’s wedding | Daily Record, Glasgow, 26 Jun 1917

The following is part of an email I received from Jackie Weaver. “… my husband thinks he remembers some talk of his grandfather having been part of the balloon corps, and being shot down, but I can’t find any details.”

On 24 June 1917, Doyle married Elizabeth Dorlie Aikenhead Gardiner in Musselburgh, Edinburgh. they had two children,

Isabella Dorlie Patricia Ramsay O’Donnell

Isabella Dorlie Patricia Ramsay O’Donnell and Roderick Patrick Doyle O’Donnell. His daughter, she was known at Patricia or Pat, married Dr. Hamilton (Tony) Melville in 1941 and they had two boys, Antony (Tim) Doyle Melville Weaver and Michael Weaver, Jackie’s husband.

Doyle did, apparently, visit Jamaica and I’ve heard from family members that his late sister, Beryl Koth née Campbell, remained in contact with his family in Britain. For some time Doyle operated a fruit importing business in Britain which ties in with the family story I’ve heard about his step-father, my grandfather Donald Harcourt Campbell, owning a “farm” in Jamaica after he had returned from Panama.

In time, Doyle’s war-related disability became too much for him, apparently, forcing him to give up his fruit business and spend some time dealing with mental health issues. Jackie Weaver wrote, “…according to a note on his death certificate he ‘moved from hospital to hospital’.”

Doyle died in 1924. He was hit by a van while, apparently, hurrying to catch a bus on his way to the Ministry of Pensions Hospital. His death was ruled an accident. Doyle is buried in the Richmond & East Sheen Cemeteries at the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, England.  His tombstone identifies him as “Captain R.F.C.” His wife Elizabeth died in 1975 and shares the same burial location and tombstone. 

This, unfortunately, was not the family’s only case of a young man who had shown great promise before passing away well before his time. Elsewhere, we’ll tell the story of Dad’s other brother, Donald.

Descendants of Henry Doyle O’Donnell (1832-1877)

1-Henry Doyle O'Donnell b. 26 Oct 1832, Athlone, Ireland, d. 10 Oct 1877, 
  Kingston Jamaica, WI
 + Mary Ann McArdle b. 9 Oct 1835, Kilkenny, Ireland, d. 10 Oct 1877, Kingston 
  Jamaica, WI
...2-Annie O'Donnell b. 1 Sep 1853, Kilkenny, Ireland, d. 22 Nov 1876, Kingston 
     Jamaica, WI
...2-John O'Donnell b. 5 Jul 1855, Kilkenny, Ireland, d. 3 Aug 1903, Kingston 
     Jamaica, WI

Believed to be
Henry William O'Donnell (1857-1895)
...2-Henry (Harry) William O'Donnell b. 28 Apr 1857, Kilkenny, Ireland, d. 27 
     Dec 1895, Kingston Jamaica, WI
    + Albertha Ambrosine Ramsey b. 13 Jul 1873, St. Mary's, Jamaica, WI, c. 10 
     Aug 1873, St. Mary's, Jamaica, W.I., d. 19 Jun 1929, Half Way Tree, Saint 
     Andrew, Jamaica, WI, Bur. Jamaica, WI
......3-Captain Henry Doyle O'Donnell b. 16 Oct 1894, Montego Bay, Saint James, 
        Jamaica, WI, d. 15 Jan 1924, Royal Richmond Hospital, Richmond, Surrey, 
        England, U.K., Bur. 1924, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, England at 
        the Richmond & East Sheen Cemeteries
       + Elizabeth Dorlie Aikenhead Gardiner b. 2 Oct 1891, Inveresk, 
        Musselburgh, U.K., d. 1975, Peterborough, Northamptonshire, England, U.K.
.........4-Isabella Dorlie Patricia Ramsay O'Donnell b. 21 Jun 1918, Inveresk, 
           Midlothian, U.K., d. 24 Feb 1984, Killin, Perthshire, U.K.
          + Dr. Hamilton (Tony) Melville Weaver b. 24 Feb 1918, U.K., d. 16 Apr 
           2008, Killin, Perthshire, U.K.
............5-Antony (Tim) Doyle Melville Weaver b. 1942, Edinburgh, Scotland
............5-Michael Weaver b. 1946, Edinburgh, Scotland
             + Jackie 
............5-Fran Weaver b. 1953, Peterborough, East Midlands, U.K.
Rory (1922-1988) & Elizabeth O'Donnell
with Tim Weaver
.........4-Roderick Patrick Doyle O'Donnell b. 29 Aug 1922, Inveresk, 
           Midlothian, U.K., d. 1988, Worthing, Sussex, England, U.K.
          + Elizabeth R Ricketts 
    + Alice Maude Curtin d. 2 Sep 1889, Morant Bay, Jamaica
...2-Mary O'Donnell b. 10 Apr 1859, Kilkenny, Ireland, d. 29 Jul 1930, 
     Montreal, Quebec
...2-Patrick Healy O'Donnell b. 6 Jan 1861
    + Joan Ead 
    + Daisy Isabelle Kidd b. 20 Dec 1883, d. 26 Mar 1933, Montreal, Quebec, 
......3-Daisy Patricia O'Donnell d. 17 Jun 1985
......3-Kathleen O'Donnell 
...2-Michael Andrew O'Donnell b. 25 Apr 1863, Curral Camp, Ireland, d. 19 Aug 
     1874, Kingston, Jamaica
...2-Helen O'Donnell b. 4 Apr 1868, Portsmouth, England, d. 22 Sep 1920, 
     Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    + Henry Radcliffe Kidd b. 8 May 1854, d. 2 Apr 1905, Montreal, Quebec, 
...2-Agnes Minnie O'Donnell b. 22 May 1873, Up Park Camp, Kingston, Jamaica, c. 
     12 Apr 1874, d. 18 Aug 1874, Kingston, Jamaica