Merrison, Gladys Noreen (Gladys)
Civilian War Dead
Died as the result of enemy action on Tuesday 22 December 1942 (aged 22)
Great Yarmouth (Caister) Cemetery, Norfolk, England (Section J Grave 178)
Conway family headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road
Gladys Noreen Merrison (nee Conway) was a daughter of George Herbert Ewart Conway and Isabella Conway (formerly Savage, nee Thompson) of 21 Croft Street, Bangor, Co. Down. They were married on 23 January 1911 in St. Anne’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Belfast. Isabella Savage (nee Thompson) had previously been married to Robert Savage; they were married on 8 July 1907 in St Anne’s Church of Ireland Church, Belfast. Robert died on 23 May 1908.
Herbert Conway worked as a labourer in Bangor Gas Works and, according to press reports detailing Gladys Conway’s surviving relatives, he and Isabella had at least five other children: Robina (Ruby), Gretta, Violet, Gladys, Pearl, and Bertie. The births of two children have been confirmed:
Margaret Jane (born 6 April 1918 at 21 Croft Street, Bangor)
George (born 18 January 1920)
Gladys Noreen Conway met Joseph Frederick Merrison when he was stationed in Northern Ireland and they were married in Bangor Abbey Church of Ireland Church on 3 March 1942. Before her marriage, Gladys Noreen Conway was engaged in war work and, some years previously, she was one of the prize-winners in a local beauty competition. In the 2 January 1943 edition of the County Down Spectator it was reported that she and her husband had shared in many social activities in Bangor and District.
After a period of service in Northern Ireland, Leading Aircraftman Joseph Frederick Merrison (No. 928709) was posted to England. He was granted leave in December 1942 and he and his wife Gladys went to stay with Joseph’s mother Clarissa in Great Yarmouth. Clarissa Merrison was engaged in war work and bombs fell on her house on 22 December 1942 after she had left home to go to work. Joe and Gladys were alone in the house at 14 Higham Place when the bombs fell. Gladys Merrison was killed instantaneously, and Joe was very severely injured; he died five hours later in hospital.
Gladys Merrison (nee Conway) was survived by:
Her parents: George and Isabella Conway
Her sister: Mrs Ruby McGlennon (Ruby’s husband, Robert W. McGlennon, died on 18 August 1938; they were married on 31 August 1933)
Her sisters Gretta, Violet and Pearl Conway
Her brother Bertie Conway who was serving with the Royal Air Force.
One of her sisters was married to Harry Butler who served with the RASC.
Both Joe and Gladys Merrison (both aged 22) are commemorated on the Conway family headstone in Bangor Cemetery. They had only been married for nine months when they were killed.
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.
Gladys Merrison’s father, Herbert Conway, died on 14 July 1963 (aged 76) and her mother, Isabella Conway, died on 22 February 1978.