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- Marilyn J. Breakey, ed. -



    As a ‘retired nurse’ it gives me great pleasure to include the following article in The Breakey Collection, and it is with gratitude to J. Derek Breakey of Sheffield, England, (descendant of Rev. James Breakey of Sheffield) that I am able to do so.

    In 2001, Mr. Breakey sent me a copy of The Breakey Book, his personal attempt to have transcribed a primarily handwritten account of the family history into a presentable, typewritten hard copy.  Numerous newspaper cuttings were included with his original family history, most dealing with Rev. James Breakey, but two items dealt with Staff Nurse Henrietta Breakey, and these Mr. Breakey included in his book.   With his permission, the following vignette is taken from those news clippings. 

    In Mr. Breakey’s book, accompanying the newspaper photograph of Staff Nurse Breakey, he has written:  “There is no reference to Staff Nurse Breakey in the main text.  Of the two Henrietta Breakeys shown on the family tree it seems more likely that she is the one born in 1892.”  Based on Mr. Breakey’s assumption, and the time frame for which the news clipping refers, I would have to concur. [The Gallipoli Campaign of WW I in Turkey occurred between February 1915 and Jan 1916].

    Breakey military personnel who perished in that campaign may be found listed in the article In Commemoration on this web site. 

    In addition, on the numerous extant Drumskelt Breakey charts that I have in my possession, it states that Henrietta Breakey, born 1892, married William Rawson, immigrated to the United States, settled in California, and had no issue.

                                                                                    Marilyn J. Breakey, Ed.

                                                                                    McHarrie Towne    

                                                                                    Baldwinsville, NY

Per Mr. Breakey: 


[No source of news item given]

[Photo caption per Mr. Breakey:]

A Co. Monaghan lady who has been wounded

at the Dardanelles, and is now in hospital in London


Nurse Breakey's Narrative

    The many friends of Staff-Sister H. Breakey, late of Drumskelt House, Ballybay, will be sorry to hear that she is at present in an hospital in London suffering from the effects of wounds received while travelling  [sic] in a railway train, the train having been shelled by the Turks.  Particulars of Miss Breakey's unfortunate mishap are best told in her own words: -

    "In the beginning of October I was sent to England on an hospital ship to nurse the wounded, and directly I arrived in London I had a cable from headquarters in Gallipoli to sail immediately back for the Dardanelles.  I sailed from Marseilles, France, on a French cruiser and when I reached Gallipoli I got orders to go to the base to interview our 'head,' and in order to reach there I had to travel by train, but unfortunately for me the Turks shelled us heavily and the part of the train I was in seemed to be blown right away.  Luckily I escaped with only a piece of shell in groin and hip, and lay for some time in that awful wreck groaning with the great pain which the wound caused.  I pulled myself together and tried again and again to help the poor suffering men around me, but had to eave off as the exertion was making the wound in my groin bleed more freely.  I was at last taken to hospital, where I was operated on and had the pieces of shell removed, and when partly well they sent me home to London.  I am getting better by degrees, but some months must elapse before I'm ready and fit for work again."


The Northern Standard, February 26, 1916

Ballybay Nurse Honoured


    On Tuesday evening a very large audience attended at Derryvalley Presbyterian Church Lecture Hall, where Miss H. Breakey, Drumskelt, gave a fascinating and detailed account of her experiences while serving with the Red Cross at Gallipoli.  The meeting was called by the congregation and some outside friends to make a presentation to Miss Breakey prior to her going back to resume her duties after a brief holiday.  It also served the secondary purpose of raising funds for the Red Cross.

    Mr. D. J. Carson, J. P., Ballybay, who presided, said the object of the meeting was to do honour to and receive entertainment from a young member of the congregation who had not only made herself famous but those of them who were co-worshippers with her in that Church.  She has done this by her courage, bravery and thoroughness, and they were all proud of her.  Miss Breakey would tell the story of her experiences at Gallipoli with the Red Cross, an institution which had done so much to help the poor fellows who are battling for us against the common foe.

    The programme opened with the singing of  "See the Conquering Hero Comes,' by the Church choir.  Mrs. MacKenzie presiding at the organ.

    Miss Breakey, who was received with loud applause, then gave her address, carrying the audience in imagination through the trials of training in hospital, the hardships and dangers of Red Cross work at Gallipoli, and the several hairbreadth escapes experienced by her in the performance of her arduous work of mercy.  Her interesting remarks in this connection were listened to with rapt attention and evident appreciation.  Regarding recruiting, Miss Breakey said she was surprised to see so many young men in Ballybay and other districts who did not appear to heed the call to arms.  In Cootehill and other towns there were large staffs of counter hands that should hasten to the country's call in this terrible crisis.  The farmers could not readily go as they were munition [sic] workers in their own way, but she exhorted the shop hands to rise to a true sense of their duty and not be held back by childish, selfish reasons. (Loud applause).

    Mrs. Dunwoody subsequently came forward and presented Miss Breakey with a gold wristlet watch.

    Rev. H. S. MacKenzie read the address, in the course of which he pointed out that a few members of First Ballybay congregation, with some friends from outside, thought it would not be fitting to allow Miss Breakey to return to her work without showing in some tangible way how much they admired her wonderful courage and pluck in assisting the wounded on the battlefield.  They rejoiced to find she had almost recovered from her sever injuries and earnestly trusted that she would return crowned with fresh laurels.  That presentation was a slight token of their appreciation of her valuable services.

    Miss Breakey gratefully acknowledged the handsome gift, which she said was altogether unexpected.  She would treasure it while she lived as a memento of the kindness of the subscribers (applause).

    Rev. H. A. MacKenzie, B. A., moved a vote of thanks to Miss Breakey for her interesting address. She had, he said, a most excellent memory, and in the midst of the fray observed carefully the happenings around.  She reminded him of her old father, who, was held in deepest regard by them all - and who gave once a valuable account of the history of Derryvalley.  For Miss Breakey's recruiting speech they should feel especially thankful.  Every young man who could at all, should join the army for if Germany won woe betide Ireland.  A special word of thanks was due the ladies who provided and served the tea at the opening of the meeting, Mrs. Moore, Miss Carlisle and all others, including the Chairman, who helped to make the night what it was, a very pleasant one.  Mr. Ritchie seconded the motion, which was formally put by the Chairman and passed by acclamation. The choir sang "God be with you till we meet again" and the meeting concluded with the singing of the National Anthem.