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


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. 30.12.1902) a sawyer  (?father also James, sawyer)

married Mary Ann Bristow    b.12.7.1839  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   (d. 10.2.1962)


William Joseph Collins  b. 12.4.1864  (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:

William Joseph Collins

Sydney Collins

Edith Lilian Collins (married Smale, London)

Alice May Collins (married Gallienne)

Gladys Elsie Collins

Reginald Walter Francis Collins (died 48 years,  30.11.1941)


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

They had twins William & Betty who both died after 3-4 days

they had 2 more children

Joyce Finigan  b. 11.7.1933  (married Walter Baudains,  2 children:   Lynn Mary b. 5.5.1956  d. 17.12.1984    &  Paul William b.24.3.1960)

Molly Joan Finigan (b.20.8.31) married André Pierre Joseph Bihet (b.12.1.28)  on 9 December 1954  (St Josephs RC Church)

They had 2 daughters:

Sally Anne (b. 15.12.1955) who married Michael Howlett, 2 children Ryan John and Carly Louise

            Carol Elizabeth (me)  b. 21.12.1959     2 children: Joshua and Naomi Marie



William Joseph Finigan died at Rose Villa, 30 les Canichers on 21.5.1972

'Pop' 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) died at Coolderry House on 10.2.1991

'Gran' 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