Civilian War Dead
Died as the result of enemy action on Tuesday 6 May 1941 (aged 56)
Tiger’s Bay North Belfast Community Website
Wife of William Thomas McGowan
In some records Bertha’s surname is spelt Magowan.
Bertha McGowan of 11 Avondale Street, Belfast died in the Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast on 6 May 1941 as the result of injuries received in a bomb explosion during the Blitz on 4 May.
The following Result of Enemy Action death notice was inserted in the 10 May 1941 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle.
McGOWAN – William and Bertha McGowan of 11 Avondale Street, Belfast.
Father, in Thy gracious keeping,
Leave we now our loved ones sleeping.
Deeply regretted by their sorrowing
Sister and Brother-in-law and Family
49 Mill Street, Newtownards.
The wording in this death notice could mean that William Thomas and Bertha McGowan were brother and sister. However, evidence from other sources indicates that they were husband and wife. In the Belfast Civil Defence Authority list published on 7 May 1941 Bertha McGowan of 11 Avondale Street, Belfast was described as Mrs McGowan, and in civil death registration records she was described as ‘married’. In civil death registration records William Thomas McGowan of 11 Avondale Street, Belfast was also described as ‘married’.
William Thomas McGowan was born around 1883 and he was a son of Thomas McGowan (a timber labourer who was born in Ireland), and Charlotte McGowan (nee Harman). In 1891 census record the McGowan family was living in Liverpool and William Thomas’s place of birth was incorrectly recorded as Glasgow, Scotland. In 1901 census records the McGowan family was still living in Liverpool, William Thomas was working as a mason’s labourer and his place of birth was recorded as Liverpool, Lancashire. In 1911 William Thomas McGowan was working as an asylum attendant in Antrim Asylum, Holywell, and his place of birth was recorded as ‘England’.
William Thomas McGowan and Annie Matilda (Bertha) Marks from 176 Hillman Street, Belfast, were married on 2 January 1913 in The People’s Methodist Hall, York Street, Belfast.
Annie Matilda (Bertha) Marks was born on 5 February 1888 at 5 Trinity Street, Belfast and she was a daughter of Robert James Marks (a constable in the Royal Irish Constabulary) and Mary Marks (nee Elliott).
Bertha McGowan is commemorated on the Tiger’s Bay North Belfast Community Website.
Of the many civilians of the Commonwealth whose deaths were due to enemy action in the Second World War, the names of some 67,092 are commemorated in the Civilian War Dead Roll of Honour, located near St. George’s Chapel in Westminster Abbey, London.