Finigan & Collins      A Child's War       Collins


My Grandfather was William Joseph Finigan,   b. 7.6.1903     d. 21.5.1972

My Grandmother was Gladys Elsie Collinsb.19.10.1904  d.10.2.1991

(info about my paternal grandparents here)



The Finigan name and family originated in Ireland

Finigan tartan          Finigan at       Finigan Message Boards    1   2  3


Edward George Finigan was born in London 24.3.1862, and worked as a seaman

He married Emma Mathams  (born Woolwich Arsenal, London - her father was in the Army)

and together they had 5 children (in Guernsey)

Kate Finigan (married Edmonds)

Winifred Finigan (married Salmon)

Edward Finigan (Ted - married Kath, 4 children Peggy, Pat, Bob, Teddy)

Jack  Finigan (married Yvonne Dadure, 2 children, Sheila & John)

William Joseph  Finigan

In the 1901 census, the family were living at laira Place, Charroterie, St Peter Port.  Edward was 43, a mariner, Emma was 31 (listed as being born in St Peter Port, Guernsey).  Their children at that time, were Catherine 9, Winifred 6, Edward 3 and John 6 months.

After the death of Edward George Finigan,  Emma had 3 more children with a Mr Brassel

Emily Brassel (Emmie - married Albie Taylor)

Michael Brassel (married Rita Wallbridge, son Michael)

Nellie Brassel (married Roy Glide)


Edward George Finigan died sometime between 1903-1905 when he was crushed between a ship and the quay at Braye Harbour, Alderney. 

He had worked as a seamen, and the family has 2 sets of discharge papers.  One dated 3.7.1886 when he was discharged at South Shields from the ship 'Ocean Bridle' Official Number 50206  Port of Registry Guernsey, tonnage 209 (had arrived there from Guernsey).  The other is dated - engagement 5.2.1881, discharged Hull 22.6.1881 'Ocean Sprite' Official Number 8510 tonnage 210

Mary Anne Finigan  died 30.9.1891 (aged 69) and was interred at Kensal Green Cemetary   7.10.1891   ?mother of Edward George Finigan  (having checked with the cemetery, it appears she was actually interred at St Mary's RC Cemetery next door to Kensal Green)




The Collins name and family originated in Ireland

Info about the Collins name  Gaelic = ó Coileáin.  Meaning = young warrior

Collins Message Boards   1    2    3


James Gobear Collins  b. 5.5.1833 (d. 27.12.1902) a sawyer  (?father also James, sawyer)

married Mary Ann Bristow    b.12.7.1839  (d. 18.4.1871) on 7.8.1859 at St Johns Church (Guernsey).  (Father of Mary Ann Bristow was Charles Bristow, labourer)

They had 4 children:

Mary Ann Elizabeth Collins  b. 3.8.1860

James Abraham Collins   b. 6.10.1862

Alice Jane William Collins   b. 19.11.1864

William Joseph Collins  b. 12.4.1867   30 Les Canichers (d. 10.2.1962)

In the 1901 census, the family were living at 30 Les Canichers, St Peter Port.  James Gobear Collins was aged 66 and a sawyer.  He had a housekeeper called Elizabeth Brestoie, aged 54.  Wiliam J Collins was 33 and a carpenter.  His wife Kate was 32, born in Blandford, Dorset.  Their children at that time were Lilian 10, William J 9, Regie 7 and Alice M 5.

William Joseph Collins  b. 12.4.1867  (baptism) Les Canichers, Guernsey (d. 10.2.1962) a carpenter

married Kathleen Mayo born Wareham, Dorset 1868 (d. 6.3.1939) on 1.5.1890

they had 6 children:

Edith Lilian Collins (married Smale, London) 21.4.1891

William Joseph Collins  29.5.1892

Reginald Walter Francis Collins 9.12.1893 (died 48 years,  30.11.1941)

Alice May Collins 22.9.1895 (married Gallienne)

Sydney Collins 1.1.1903

Gladys Elsie Collins 19.10.1904



William Joseph Collins ('Pop' Collins) was a great character, and in his later years spent hours each day collecting silver paper from bins around the harbour area, which he would iron out, before Gran (Glad) sent it away to Barnados




William Joseph Finigan (master builder) married Glady Elsie Collins  on 28.12.1926 St Joseph's Church, Guernsey

They had twins William Joseph (Bill) & Beatrice (Betty) in September 1928. Beatrice died after 3 hours and William after 11 hours (see grave records here)

They had 2 more children

Joyce Finigan  b. 1933  (married Walter Baudains,  2 children:   Lynn Mary (b.5.5.1956  d.17.12.1994)    &  Paul William (b.24.3.1960  d. 25.10.2019)

Molly Joan Finigan (b.1931) married André Pierre Joseph Bihet (b. 21.01.1928  d.18.11.2020)  in  1954  (St Josephs RC Church)

They had 2 daughters:

Sally Anne (b. 1955) who married Michael Howlett, 2 children Ryan John (b.1982) and Carly Louise (b.1985)

Carol Elizabeth (me)  (b. 1959)     3 children: Joshua (b.1988) and Naomi Cottam (b.1990), and Ashe Vivyan (b.2005)



William Joseph Finigan (b. 07/06/1903) died at Rose Villa, 30 les Canichers on 21.5.1972

'Pop' or 'Bill' was an incredibly kind, wise and funny gentleman - he loved to sit in a deckchair in his garden at Rose Villa tipping his hat with a "morning Ma'am" in greeting as folks passed by.  There are very few 'serious' photographs of Pop, most are of him making his notorious funny faces.  He worked hard in his own building business (with brother Ted), working from his workshop in Bosq Lane, and his office at the top of the house - where he had a magnificent view of the harbour and islands.  He invested wisely for and lived for his family.

Gladys Elsie Finigan (Collins) (b. 19.10.1904) died at Coolderry House on 10.2.1991

'Gran' or 'Glad' was an immensely popular character.  Her kindness to others is legendary.  During the Occupation years, there were 9 people living in the home, as she took in those who had no family, or would otherwise have been homeless.   Mum (Molly Bihet) wrote her book 'A Child's War' in order to tell of Gran's story as well as her own.  The website includes some extracts from the book, including the incident where Gran acted out an oscar-winning scene to avoid the Germans taking over the house, which was their intention.  Gran not only was 'aunty Glad' to many in her home during those years, but also cared for family and friends who lived nearby, visiting them daily.  Gran had a very bubbly personality, and worked tirelessly for the British Legion.  She was the character with the barrel organ on Poppy Day, at Market Steps.  She owned a pianola - and loved to play it, with front door wide open, so that everyone would hear the wonderful piano playing.


You can find out more about the family, particularly during the German Occupation of Guernsey 1940-1945 at 




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