Edward Pomeroy Colley


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Richard Coplen

Guest
Hey all,
I am absolutely in shock at the mo. I am in university at the moment and was just doing some research for a history project on the landed gentry or aristocracy of Ireland. The family I have chosen to study were called King-Harman and once owned much of the land in the Midlands of Ireland where I live. While going through "Burke's Peerage" I discovered that the family was related to the Pomeroy-Colleys of Castle Carbery in Co. Kildare (not too far from my university). I came across Edward Pomeroy-Colley's name - he being the same first-class passenger that went down with the Titanic. I discovered that his family were descended from King Edward 1 and 111 on his mother's side. It gets more interesting than that!!! I also discovered that his sister - Gertrude is none other than the grandmother of the two famous British actors Ralph ("Schindler's List") and Joseph ("Shakespeare in Love", "Elizabeth"...) Fiennes!!! The famous British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes is also related - he being a cousin of some sort. I have just answered a question which has always interested me - are there any modern celebrities out there that are related to Titanic's victims. I can't get over it - i'm sure there are many more coincidences out there. Anyway, must dash and get down to researching my assignment! Hope this is of interest! Later peeps!!!
 

Kyrila Scully

Member
Apr 15, 2001
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Richard, I believe there's a whole other thread about this topic elsewhere. On a side note, when I get to work today, I'll see what else I can find for you as I work at the Historical Research Center which specializes in onomastics.

All the best,
Kyrila
 
R

Richard Coplen

Guest
Hey again,
This just gets better and better! While further researching the Pomeroy-Colleys and their estate of Castle Carbery in the Irish county of Kildare, I discovered that Edward Pomeroy-Colley was directly descended from Arthur Wellesly - the Duke of Wellington, who like the Titanic passenger was also born in Castle Carbery. For those of you that don't realise the Duke of Wellington's significance - it was he that defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo and sent the infamous dictator into exile. He was also a prime minister of Britain. I can't believe how many famous ancestors and descendants Edward Pomeroy-Colley had. Some people have all the interesting family histories!!!
 
Jun 1, 2005
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Edward Pomeroy Colley

Edward Pomeroy Colley was an uncle of my grandmother Noreen Colley. I believe he was born and raised at Mount Temple, Ireland. Mount Temple later became a comprehensive school and is where Bono of U2 was educated. Indeed, it was the first place where U2 ever played a gig � a messy ten minute affair in January 1976 consisting solely of cover versions! Edie (nee Finlay), known in the family as Baba, was Edward�s sister-in-law, married to his elder brother George Colley. They started their married life a Faunaugh on 75 Orwell Road in Rathgar, a building subsequently demolished and now home to the Redemptorists. My grandmother was born here on April 14th 1912 as were Dudley and Veronica. During the Great War, Baba�s brothers and male Finlay cousins were all killed so, when her father was no longer able to run the estate, circa 1916, George and Edie Colley took over the running of it. George was very handicapped by profound deafness from childhood. His brother Ger was a magistrate in Co. Tipperary. (See Harberton / Pomeroy family in Burkes, Debretts etc for more).

Edward wrote the following letter to Noreen's mother Edie Colley while on board the Titanic. It was posted in Queenstown (Cobh).


My dear Edie,

Your nice long letter came yesterday and had only one piece of synicism (I was going to say sarcasm) in it. I�m glad you liked the photos. The one of me obviously was unexposed. Whoever of you took it was in doubt at the time if they pressed the shutter. My wild letter to George on the subject of shirts was solely the mean of giving you and he a lot of bother, I�m afraid. And I forgot to send back the cellular [collar?] and shirt of George�s. I have [] I�ll bring it back next time I come, or if practical I�ll send it ashore at Queenstown. It�s my fault for not having them marked [with my �- bad name].

This is a huge ship. Unless lots of people get on at Cherbourg and Queenstown they�ll never half fill it. The dining room is low ceilinged but full of little tables for two, three and more in secluded corners. How I wish someone I liked was on board but then nice people don�t sit at tables for two unless they�re engaged or married. I wonder my blue blood didn�t tell me that?

They also have a restaurant where you can pay for meals if you get bored with the ordinary grub. Our most distinguished passengers seem to be WT Stead, W. Astor, [---] Chas. Hays and ---- Golby. Oh and the Countess of Something, but her blood is only blue black. (Give me good red corpuscles, I seem to know more about them). We nearly had a collision to start with coming out of Southampton. We passed close to a ship that was tied up alongside the Oceanic and the suction of our ship drew her out into the stream and snapped the ropes that held her and round she swung across our bows! She had no steam up so had to be pulled back by tugs and we had to reverse. The name of her was the New York in case you see it in the papers. It proves conclusively the case of the Hawk and Olympic.

Why is a person unfit for you to know if she is cursed (or blessed) with dimples in her cheeks or does she ipso facto become unfit at the moment I (and no one else) call her a nickname. Perhaps only as a distinguishing mark from her sister who didn�t catch a Viscount; I didn�t say I called her that; and I know several quite respectable people who have dimples. Why, your husband has one in his chin! Don�t you think that it is I who am common and second rate, and not my friends. That sounds more probable in spite of the azure strain. You see I always prefer my funny friends to your Miss. Shaw�s and other pretty people. And the blue people find me dull and the red ones don�t.

I think my best plan is to make love unplatonically to a � who owns the books. She has manners that would go down anywhere, dresses like an English girl and knows all the better people in Victoria (did you know there were some?!). She is not beautiful but very nice and in fact she would do charmingly but wouldn�t please my relations for two reasons. First she earns her living by playing the typewriter in a government office, Papa having died broke. Second, her great-grandpapa was neither blue nor red but was what is known as Red River meaning that his ancestors and he were the original owners of the Red River Country in Manitoba. I�m not a snob and you would be the first to call me one if I did more than draw attention to the fact. You have been so good to me and George too, that I am a pig to write such a nasty letter.

But Edie you have never met any of my supposedly dreadful friends, and I have lost all confidence in my power of choosing anyone for fear of family disapproval that I can�t face it. You can�t make laws for the whole of the world the same as for England. Remember you agreed with me that Chaperones do not chaperone. So why have them or why give them up by degrees as you English are doing what you -----. Evolution in emancipation [sic?] of the young maiden is really the arrival on the scene of England is usually 10 years as they adopted electric light and electric trains without any improvements, 8 to 11 years late. Not --- that awful America only but France, Germany and other European countries. Same thing with the aeroplane, motor cars (in 1896). And so it will be with the evolution of the _________.

You can have this letter printed if you like and circulated and ------------ ---------- given to the society for old and infirm chaperones.

I took Mary Bowen to see Man and Superman on Monday and I also saw Fanny�s First Play last Wednesday, both Bernard Shaw and rather improper in places. The pain disappeared, thank you. It was not in the heart but in that part of me that if it was a lamb or beef would be grilled on toast and devilled. I hope to meet Mrs. and Miss. Kane and her sister and child in New York. She will be well chaperoned at any rate.

Goodbye Edie, you�re a darling and wish you had a sister to hypnotise her into thinking I wasn�t common by inclination!

Love from Eddie
 

Susan Alby

Member
Oct 22, 2004
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Hi Turtle-

Thanks for posting such a fascinating candid letter written by your Great (Great?) Uncle. How old was he at the time of his death, I am going to guess maybe 25-30? As a "blue blood" it seems as though he felt quite trapped or a bit constrained amid the social confines of Victorian/Edwardian society.

>>How I wish someone I liked was on board but then nice people don't sit at tables for two unless they're engaged or married. I wonder my blue blood didn't tell me that?<<

I could read this correspondence over and over and still find something "new" draw from it!

Cheers,
Susan
 
Jun 1, 2005
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Hi Susan,
I'm not sure what age he was actually but one of these days I'll get around to looking into him more thoroughly!
All the best,
Turtle
 
Dec 6, 2000
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Susan,

Are you asking how old Edward Pomeroy Colley was when he died?

Looking at his biography on this web-site he was born on 15 April 1875. So he died on his 37th birthday.
 

Senan Molony

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Jan 30, 2004
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That letter is detailed in my book, which has plenty more on Colley's illustrious bloodline, which also goes to the battle of Majuba Heights in South Africa.

Here is a picture of a woman whose name and details I had better withhold, displaying the said letter.

97207.jpg
 

Susan Alby

Member
Oct 22, 2004
188
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How terribly sad for him to have died so young on his birthday. He seemed to have been a bit ahead of his time in social attitudes towards women. I can see how he might have enjoyed the company of Helen Candee Churchill, being a more mature woman without the need of a chaperone. Must say with her "coterie" of men on board, she must have been a very striking lady!

Is there any account of a passenger seeing him on deck after the collision? He must have been made aware of the situation, although even if he had gone up on deck that would probably have not changed his fate.
 
Jun 1, 2005
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Thomas Pakenham goes into some detail about Major General Sir George Colley and the battle of Majuba in "Scramble for Africa". He suggests that Colley, like General Custer at Little Big Horn six years earlier, was gambling that he could rout the Boers and put an end to their uprisings against the British in the Transvaal. He made a fatal error, and the Boers wiped his Highland regiment out on Feb 27th 1881. In fact it is hardly worthy of the name "battle". The Boers marksmen simply lay in hiding along the roadside, and each took an officer or a soldier in his sights. It was all over in a matter of minutes. Pakenham goes on to add that Colley, formerly High Commissioner for Southern Africa, realized his mistake - and the damage it would do his reputation - and fought alongside his dying men until a bullet found its way into his forehead. Family legend had it that the General had a blazing row with his wife that morning which is why he acted so brazenly!
 
Mar 20, 2007
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I enjoyed reading Edward P. Colley's recently auctioned Titanic letter immensely. Like the one sent from the ship by Frank Millet, it provides an invaluable window into the experience of sailing on the maiden voyage, the incident at Southampton with the New York and various topical concerns of the day (he even references a performance he's seen of G.B. Shaw's play, Man and Superman). Colley's tone of light-hearted excitement, mingled with dry and self-deprecating humour, is very winning - and made all the more poignant with the knowledge that he is destined to die only days later. It is fascinating to me to see him listing the more prominent or impressive-sounding individuals aboard - Astor, Stead, Hays and the Countess of Rothes. Evidently, travellers in first-class really did consult their passenger lists in order to do a bit of celebrity-spotting!

This link provides a good photograph of Colley - the first and only one I've seen:

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSvcid=22180&GRid=17884101&

It is also interesting to note that, besides the illustrious connections out-lined in the posts above, he was also the uncle (through his sister, Florence) of the distinguished Anglo-Irish writer, Elizabeth Bowen:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Bowen

http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=505
 

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