Capt. William Lanagan Stannard





Other sources

  1. Short biography of William L. Stannard in the Incorporated Accountants' Journal, June 1915
  2. Various correspondence with Clare Stannard (daughter of Derek Stannard)
  3. Various correspondence with Ann Kinghorn (daughter of Terence Arthur Stannard)

Family trees

Stannard family tree
Family trees of the Stannard and Wilson families

Also showing the MacAdam family

Other information

Articles and photo from the St Helens Newspaper & Advertiser

William Lanagan Stannard


Biography of Capt. William Lanagan Stannard following his death in 1915

"Captain Stannard married the daughter of the late [sic.] John Penketh of St Helens and for a year or two had resided at Seymour Road, Broad Green. He was about 41 years of age and joined the 5th South Lancs about 1902. He was secretary of the St Helens Unionist Buildings Company and was a prominent member of the local Unionist party."

William Lanagan Stannard


Capt. W.L. Stannard (c), with Lieut. R. Heaton (l) and Rifleman J. Towers (r), 1915

William Lanagan Stannard


Article about Capt. William Lanagan Stannard following his death in 1915

"It is stated that Capt. Stannard had sent in his resignation from the battalion, but when war was declared he withdrew it so he might serve his country.

Capt. Stannard had always borne the reputation of being a keen and alert soldier, who was heart and soul in the welfare of the regiment. No trouble was too great for him to go to in securing the personal comfort of his men, and we well remember one of them remarking to us in the piping times of peace, long before the present conflict was dreamt of, "that as a body they would follow him anywhere if ever the necessity arose". This, perhaps, is the finest tribute that can be paid to a soldier, and we know from letters we have from time to time received from the Front, that Capt. Stannard more than maintained this hold on his men by his courageous and confidence-impelling conduct on the field."

Derek Stannard
Derek Stannard

Photo: Clare Stannard

Anthony Stannard
Tony Stannard

Photo: Clare Stannard

William Lanagan Stannard
Capt. William Lanagan Stannard, probably 1915

Photo courtesy of Clare Stannard

Life and career

William Lanagan Stannard, the father of my paternal grandmother Olive, was born in Ireland but came to England as a child, putting down roots there, before dying in Flanders in World War I. In the last decades of the century, four others of my great-grandparents moved to England from parts of the United Kingdom and its colonies: Dr. James McConnell and his wife Janie (née Meharry) from Northern Ireland, and Col. John Pennycuick and his wife Grace (née Chamier) from India.

William Lanagan was born in Kilkenny in about 1875, the son of Maj. William George Stannard and Christina Jane Wilson (see page on the Rev. Henry Stannard), and a great-grandson of John Lanigan Stannard (see page on the Stannards of Kilkenny). His birth certificate cannot be found (see page on the Stannard family for details about Irish birth records), but the census of 1881 gives the date and place of birth as 1875, in Kilkenny (presumably meaning the county). At the time of his birth, William Lanagan's father and 15-year-old mother were probably living in The Grange, Ballyragget, north of Kilkenny. (It seems he had no brothers or sisters.) They were married some 11 years later in London - William Lanagan was thus born out of wedlock. Perhaps for reasons connected with the age and unmarriedness of his mother, he went to England at the age of six, where he lived with his aunt Margaret in Cottingham near Hull.

The next we see of him is in 1891, where the 16-year-old William Lanagan is living in Smithdown Road, Toxteth, Liverpool, working as a trainee accountant. (His parents were at that time living in mid-Wales, where William's father Henry had recently died.) Presumably during that time William Lanagan met Jane Annie Penketh, daughter of commercial traveller John Penketh, who lived in Parliament Street, Toxteth. They were married in 1899 in Liscard in Cheshire. The young family lived for a time in Hammersmith, west London, where William Lanagan worked as private secretary to Col. E. Pilkington (possibly from the famous glass family),2 before returning to the Merseyside area, where they lived on Prescot Road in St Helens.1 His last address (given on the Probate record) was Seymour Road, Broadgreen, Liverpool, now a pleasant road with many Edwardian houses.

William Lanagan qualified as an accountant (strictly, an Associate of the Society of Accountants and Auditors) in 1910, and became a partner in the firm of Stannard & Ellis, Incorporated Accountants.3,i (Nothing else is known about the firm, but Mr. Ellis is almost certainly William Senior Ellis, born 1876, who married Elsie Olive Beecham in 1915. Elsie was from the family of pharmaceutical manufacturers ('Beechams Powders') and her brother was the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham. Apparently Elise's father was strongly opposed to the match with Ellis.4) William Lanagan was a Freemason, joining the Croxteth United Service Lodge (West Lancs) in 1912,5 and the Masons later helped with the education of some of his family. He played golf at the Grange Park Golf Club in St Helens, and is listed on the war memorial there.1

War service

William Lanagan joined the 5th South Lancashire Regiment in 1902, reaching the rank of captain. (His father William George had been a major in the Kilkenny Fusiliers, part of the Royal Irish Regiment.) He had apparently been about to resign his commission when the outbreak of war in 1914 caused him to reverse his decision.1,i An article in the St Helens Newspaper & Advertiser describes him as a courageous and popular officer.1

William Lanagan Stannard


Capt. William Lanagan Stannard, 1915

Photo: St Helens Newspaper & Advertiser

William Lanagan Stannard, Grave
Grave of Capt. William Lanagan Stannard, Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke

Photo courtesy of Hilary Davies

Capt. Stannard died on 4th May 1915 at the 2nd Battle of Ypres, the first battle of that war in which poison gas was used. The newspaper articles from the St Helens Newspaper & Advertiser1 give details:

"A murderous fire was opened by the enemy's artillery, D Company coming in for the worst of the fray. Here Capt. Stannard fell while gallantly leading his company" (more general detail follows).

The brief notes in the Masonic Great War Project website give a different version however, stating that he was buried in his dug-out.5

William Lanagan was awarded the following medals: 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.1 He is buried in the Tyne Cot Cemetery4,5 at Zonnebeke near Ypres, grave number LXIV. H. 5. I am grateful to Hilary Davies, William Lanagan's great-granddaughter, for this touching photograph.


William Lanagan married Jane Anne ('Annie') Penketh in Liscard, Cheshire in 1899. (See the page on the Penketh and Southworth families.) They had six children, all born in Lancashire (Prescot and West Derby).


William Lanagan's eldest daughter worked for a time as a dancing teacher. She lived with and eventually married Herbert Victor Stammers, who was commercial director for an office machinery company.

Arthur Stannard
Arthur Stannard

Photo: Clare Stannard


Terence Arthur emigrated to South Africa aged 18 and worked as a farmer (his widowed mother could not afford to send him to university), then as a miner, finally as deputy mining engineer to the South African government, before retiring to a run a banana farm. His daughter Anne Penketh Stannard worked as a schoolteacher; her husband John Kinghorn was an engineer.ii


Frank William served in the Royal Air Force during the war, retiring as a group captain. He was awarded the CBE in 1958. He married Jean Siddeley, the daughter of Cyril Davenport Siddeley (2nd Baron Kenilworth).8


Christened George but known in the family as Derek, he attended the Royal Masonic School (his father had been a Mason) and went on to study electrical engineering. He then started a career in the BBC which lasted nearly 40 years, finishing as Chief Engineer for Communication. His two children Tony and Clare both emigrated to South Africa: Tony worked as a geologist before tragically losing his life in a potholing accident in Wales; Clare is a professor of radiation oncology at the University of Cape Town.iii

Clare Stannard wedding
Wedding of Clare Stannard and Ivor McCelland Davies, 1969

Back row: Olive, James McConnell, Victor Stammers, Sandra and Jo McConnell, Mac, Alba, Derek Stannard, Peter, Eustelle Stannard (née Murphy), Clare, Ivor, four friends and relations of Ivor

Front row: 'Man' (James and Sandra's dog), Mark, Sara

Photo courtesy of Clare Stannard

Teddy Stannard
Teddy Stannard

Photo courtesy of Clare Stannard


The youngest son, Lionel Edward ('Teddy'), served as a pilot officer in the Royal Air Force in the 2nd World War, and died after being shot down during a bombing raid over Berlin in 1941.9

Olive McConnell


Olive McConnell, née Stannard, in 1994


Olive Penketh Stannard, my grandmother, worked as a nurse in Guy's Hospital in London where she met my grandfather, anaesthetist Dr. William Samuel McConnell, known in the family as 'Mac'. (Olive's grandfather John Penketh had been in the medicines trade, and her great-grandfather Thomas Wilson was an apothecary and surgeon, so medicine was in the family.) She and Mac married in 1932 in Stratford; their two sons, Peter and James, were born in 1934 and 1937. After the war they bought the large house in Chartfield Avenue in Putney where they lived for over 30 years. In later life her main enjoyments were golf, bridge, gardening and her grandchildren, but in younger days she and Mac had taken part in staged productions of Gilbert & Sullivan. Following Mac's death in 1982, Olive lived in Putney before moving to an old people's home near Winchester, where she died in 1995.

William Lanagan's widow Annie lived most of her later life (she died in 1962) in a residential hotel (the Anglo-Swiss) in Bournemouth, possibly not far from Mac's mother Janie McConnell (see page on the Meharry family).ii