Researching your family history: Bureau of Military Archives
Published on 15th February 2021
Welcome to the third week in this second series of researching your family history during lock-down. Last week in the Bureau of Military Archives we saw how Aidan McLeod and his two brothers had made applications to the Pensions Board. A summary of their records showed that Aidan and his two brothers had been awarded Service (1917-1921) Medals for their part in the War of Independence.
This week by accessing www.bureauofmilitatyarchives.ie I intend to see if the three brothers did actually receive a pension. The website states that, The Army Pensions Act came into law in 1923 and that a Board was set up to examine all claims and advise the Minister of Defence as to the award, if any, to be made in each case. An Army Medical Board was also set up to advise on any medical aspects of any particular case. The Army Pensions Board encountered difficulties over the years and a number of amendments had to be made to the original Act.
The summary of the file, MD7097, shows that Aidan’s first application for a Service (1917-1921) Medal was “unsuccessful”... “due to insufficient documentary evidence of membership of the Irish Republican Army”. However, the response to a second application, MD6919, states that Aidan’s service was certified and the medal issued.
James McLeod’s file summary MD6920 gives a lot of personal information, e.g. dates of birth and death along with his civilian occupation. There is also reference to an associated file DP49778 in which James was awarded a ”Special Allowance” under the Army Pensions Act in respect of illness or disability.
The third brother, John, was also awarded a Special (1917-1921) Medal, file MD10879. John’s medal was issued in 1951. At this time John must have been suffering from some form of illness or disability because he also applied for a “Special Allowance”. Unfortunately he died before his claim could be processed. Full access to these files would give the descendants of the three brothers a great deal of genealogical information.
Submitted by Helen in the Reading Room.
Special (1917-1921) Medal