Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Salvation Army

A correspondent has made me aware of the existence of the above badge which used to belong to a member of the McIlhagga clan. We believe this was 'Dolly' McIlhagga who died fairly recently, perhaps a couple of years ago. She was born Dorothy May McCormick in 1916 in Seacombe-cum-Poulton which is part of the borough of Wallasey on the Wirral. The story, as we understand it, is that in the Second World War Dorothy went with her parents to Belfast to stay with a couple who were running the Salvation Army Canteen for the troops stationed in that city. There she met William McIlhagga and they married in 1941 or 1942. A year or so later they returned to 'Dolly's' home, to live in Wallasey where they joined the Poulton Road Corps of The Salvation Army. William got employment with an Insurance Company associated with 'The Army'.

William was one of a large family of five boys and five girls belonging to Andrew McIlhagga who was born about 1880 in the Ballymena area and Elizabeth Todd who was born in Gracehill about 1883. Elizabeth may have been part of the Moravian community which made its home in that central Antrim village. I am unsure who Andrew's parents were. Married at Ahoghill Church of Ireland in 1906 Andrew gave his father's name as John McIlhagga of Queen Street, Ballymena.

If anyone knows more about the history of this family I would be delighted to be in touch, particularly if the information contained a suggestion about who might like to have the above Salvation Army badge. It is a small heirloom that should go to someone who perhaps remembers Dorothy McIlhagga.

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