from St Anne's

Cathedral gifted Captain Brennan’s historic watch

Belfast Cathedral has been presented with a watch which once belonged to Cathedral organist Capt CJ Brennan, OBE, MA, FRCO, and is more than 100-years-old.

The inscription on the back of the watch reads: ‘Presented to Capt. C.J. Brennan by the Officers of the 5th Batt. South Belfast Regt. UVF May 1915.'

The watch was discovered during a recent house clearance, and the finders, Philip and Heather Shepperd, have kindly donated it to the Cathedral.

An Englishman whose family originated from County Galway, Brennan was appointed organist at St Anne’s in 1904, aged 28, and remained in post until 1964, when he retired having celebrated his diamond jubilee. He died in 1972 at the grand old age of 96.

Long known as ‘the Captain,’ records show that in 1909 Second Lieutenant Brennan was promoted Lieutenant, Queen’s University, Officers' Training Corps;  he served in World War One being called to Aldershot in 1917, already a captain,  and in 1918 he was with the 10th Reserve Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers in France.

Former pupil Billy Adair reckoned that Brennan’s duties were more musical (entertaining troops) than military, which may explain the presentation by the 5th Batt. UVF.