Who Do You Think You Are?
Michael Kenny 1893–1917
Learn how to trace the will of an Irish soldier who died in the First World War, like Michael Kenny
Michael Kenny was born on 29 February 1893 in Kilclooney, County Galway. In November 1910 he joined the 3rd Battalion (Special Reserve) of the Connaught Rangers, and 10 months later transferred to the regular army, to the regiment’s 1st Battalion. The battalion was stationed in India from February 1913 until August 1914. Then, with the Indian Expeditionary Force (France), Kenny served for a period in France. As part of an ad-hoc relief force, the so-called ‘Tigris Corps’, the battalion was sent to Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq), arriving in Basra in January 1916. Michael Kenny died of wounds on 21 January 1917. He is buried in the Amara War Cemetery.
If a soldier had not made a will, or the will was lost, the War Office sometimes accepted a letter in which he had stated his wishes. On 1 November 1916, Michael Kenny wrote his brief will on the allocated page in his pocket service book, known as the ‘Small Book’.
The National Archives of Ireland holds the wills of Irish soldiers (but not commissioned officers) who died while serving in the British Army in the First World War. They are freely available at soldierswills. nationalarchives.ie/search/ sw, and are on Ancestry at ancestry.co.uk/search/collections/70789. Also, transcriptions of the wills are available on Findmypast at search.findmypast.co.uk/searchworld-records/ww1-irish-soldiers-wills.