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Patrick Brennan alias John Davidson

Updated: Aug 13, 2023

9055 Private

2nd Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 19th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Division

Age: U/K

Date of Death: 21.10.14

Buried: Ploegsteert Memorial Panel 9 and 10

Family history: Husband of Margaret Brennan. They had two children John (age 2) at the time of his fathers death and Annie McAuley Brennan age 5 months. His wife remarried in 1916 not an uncommon occurrence read more here about war widows


Many soldiers chose to enlist with an alias for a variety of reasons. Some changed their name in order to avoid their families finding out that they had enlisted, some to re-enlist after a dishonourable discharge, or simply because they disliked their name and wanted a ‘fresh start’ in the army, particularly if their surname sounded German. Some may have had a legal birth surname, and a surname taken from a stepfather after their mother remarried. In other cases, there were even criminal reasons to use a false name. It is not known why Patrick Brennan chose to serve under the alias of John Davidson, but it seems giving a false name was not as unusual as you might think amongst WW1 soldiers. The CWGC list him as John Davidson in their Roll of Honour.

The action leading to his death

The 19th Infantry Brigade was engaged in heavy fighting with advancing German troops around Le Maisnil which lay to the south of the Salient around Fromelles. During the fighting the Battalion had 5 Officers and 200 Other Ranks killed, wounded and missing. Patrick's body was subsequently lost and he is listed as one of the missing.

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium
War Diary Map

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium
From Linesman showing a modern day map of the area

Medals Awarded

1914 Star and Clasp, The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium

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