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The French Family Window

May 26, 2014  Posted in: Lives Remembered

This window tells the story of the French family, a family who suffered as a result of World War One. This window commemorates two brothers Charles Stockley French and Claude Alexander French, and their step-brother Bernard Digby Johns, who died during World War One. This window was erected by their parents who lived at Saint Anne’s, Donnybrook.

French Family Window

Claude Alexander French was born on 3 May 1881. He was educated at Shrewsbury School in England. He married Dorothy Christine Maud Birdwood, in June 1914. He served as a Captain in the Royal Irish Regiment. He died on 1 June 1915 at age 34, from wounds received in action. He had a son John Alexander Charles French born after his death in July 1915.

Claude Alexander Frence (2)

Claude Alexander French

His younger brother Charles Stockley French was born on the 4th of July 1892. . He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin University, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland.1 He gained the rank of Lieutenant in the service of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He was killed in action at St. Julien, Belgium on the 25 April 1915 aged 22 years old.
Bernard Digby Johns was the stepbrother of the French brothers. He was born in Bath on 13th May 1894. He was educated at Oriel College, Oxford, and on graduation joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He was promoted to captain, and died in action near Ypres in February 1916, aged 21.

Bernard Digby Johns Crop

Bernard Digby Johns

This window is attributed to the studio of Joshua Clarke, the father of the celebrated stained glass artist Harry Clarke. The cartoon was drawn by William McBride. The upper image shows a Christian warrior attended by angels, while the lower scene depicts a dying soldier being helped by a colleague wearing the distinctive First World War British helmet, set against the back drop of a burning town and gun carriage. Between the two scenes depicted in the window, there is a shield shape made of fragments of glass from Ypres Cathedral in Belgium. This glass was found in the war damaged cathedral by one of the brothers and brought back to Dublin while on leave.
Ypres glass

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