Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Margaret Finley, died at Singapore (1942)

Postcard view of the Merlion at Singapore
(Symbol of the modern day Singapore)

The modern day city state of Singapore is a vibrant city of business and commerce. It is also a popular tourist destination with many things to see and do. Yet, how different it was for those who found themselves in Singapore in February 1942.

The British Garrison at Singapore surrendered to avoid further needless loss of lives. Even so, many civilians - including women and children - were lost while trying to evacuate. Relatives of many of those who died had no news of their loved ones, good or bad, for several years. One of those who was lost during the evacuation from Singapore was a British nursing sister, Margaret R. Finley, QAIMNS of Worcestershire. This is Margaret's story, or at least what is known of it.

For additional information click on 'Comments' below


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

(1) CWGC casualty details

Sister Margaret Raven Finley, Q.A.I.M.N.S.
(Missing presumed killed 14.02.1942)

These are the casualty details as listed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for Sister Margaret Raven Finley:

Initials: M R
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Sister
Regiment/Service: Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service
Age: 31
Date of Death: 14/02/1942
Service No: 206153
Additional information: Daughter of Harry and Lilian Finley.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Column 113.

(2) Some family background details

Margaret Raven Finley was born in West Malvern, Worcestershire in 1900. Her father, Dr Harry Finley [1869 - 1938] who was a General Practitioner in West Malvern, originally came from Wimborne Minster, Dorsetshire. Margaret's mother, Mrs Lilian Finley (nee McKelvie) [1871 - 1953] originally came from Whitehaven, Cumberland (now Cumbria).

Harry and Lilian married in Whitehaven in 1900 and at the time of the 1901 census they were living at Hornyold, West Malvern. Margaret was the youngest of 4 children. Margaret's elder siblings were: Peter Finley (died in infancy), Henry Lockhart Finley and Jean Barbara Mary Finley.

One may conclude that that Margaret Finley's choice of career in the nursing profession was influenced by her upbringing as the daughter of a G.P. Evidently, as a nursing sister Margaret Finley was highly qualified, had joined the QAIMNS and had been posted to a hospital in Singapore.

(3) Lost at Singapore

In the wake of the Japanese attack on Singapore an attempt was made to evacuate many of the civilian population, hospital patients and staff. It is believed that Sister Margaret Finley was on board the SS Kuala which was attacked by the Japanese and sunk off Pom Pong Island. Many lives were lost. The presumed date of Margaret Finley's death was later set as 14 February 1942.

Sister Margaret Finley was officially 'reported missing' in 1943. In January 1946, almost 4 years after the fall of Singapore, Sister Margaret Finley was officially 'presumed killed in action at sea'. The following family notice appeared in 'The Whitehaven News' on Thursday 24 January 1946:


Finley - Previously reported missing, now officially presumed killed in action at sea, on SS Kuala, off Singapore on February 14 1942, Sister Margaret Raven Finley, Q.A.I.M.N.S., dearly loved daughter of Mrs. Finley and the late Dr. H. Finley of West Malvern."

With no known grave, as has been seen, Margaret Finley's name was included on the Singapore Memorial. Hers is but one name of more than 24,000 listed whose final resting place is unknown.

(4) Dedication:

In memory of Margaret Raven Finley (1910 - 1942)
Born: West Malvern Worcestershire
Died: Singapore

May her name, and her sacrifice, always be remembered.

"To know even one life breathed easier because she lived is to know she truly succeeded while here".


(5) Acknowledgements:

'The Whitehaven News'

Cumbria County Archives & Library Service (Whitehaven)

Mrs Joan Little,
(Volunteer researcher,
Cumbria County Archives)

Sunday, 09 October, 2011  

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