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LT. M. J. NUGENT (Michael Joseph)



Patrick and Michael Nugent - 1951
Patrick and Michael Nugent in 1951

There is an interesting story going around the Alberta Nugents for years relating to Bernard's leaving Nfld so long ago......

Young Bernard was sent out to fetch firewood. He didn't return for 49 years! When he came to see my grandfather Leo, he stopped at the wood pile and picked up an arm ful of firewood and went into the house. Leo looked at him and said: Well; that took you long enough, Bernard!!!

Thanks to Elizabeth (Nugent) Groenink of Edmonton, P. Bernard's grandaughter, without whom this article would not have been possible.

This concerns two of my grandfather Leo Nugent's brothers, Michael and Bernard Nugent. Michael married Mary Ellen O'Reilley, daughter of a Placentia Magistrate. while was teaching there. She died in 1955.





On Sunday, November 23rd, 1952 another old soldier Lt. M. J. Nugent entered into rest. For many years his health had been failing but, through his own courage and the tender devotion of a loving wife, he

made remarkable recoveries from time to time.


Recently, however, in conversation with him, it became apparent that  the strain was telling and he himself knew the struggle was nearing  its end.


M. J. Nugent came to Grand Falls in 1913. He and his family became

identified with the life of Grand Falls and have played no small part in its varied activities ever since.


Mr. Nugent was born at Kelligrews in 1871 and was educated at St. Bonaventure's College. He entered the teaching profession and taught for some years at Placentia. He was outstanding in his field and in Mathematics and History had no peer.


Later he resigned from teaching and entered H. M. Customs, working at Bell Island and Gambo. When the call-to-arms came in 1914 he was one of the first to enlist here and went overseas October 4th 1914 with the First Five Hundred. He was then in his forty-third year and how he managed to make the grade is his own secret. Make it he did, however, and he served with the Newfoundland Regiment in the United Kingdom, Egypt and Gallipoli.


In Gallipoli he attained the rank of Sergeant and was attached to Headquarters. He worked hard and diligently there and won many fine tributes from his Commanding Officer. At length, however, in common with many others he fell sick and was invalided out.


After his hospitalization he returned to the base Depot in Scotland and was attached to Headquarters. He soon received his commission and as an officer he played his part in training the drafts and taking them to France.


In the fall of 1918 he rejoined the First Battalion in Belgium and marched with it into Germany. He remained with his unit until its return to Newfoundland in June 1919.


For a man of his years it was surprising how well he bore up under the strenuous demands of active service and although he was the oldest man in the Regiment, an honor which he valued most highly, he met those demands with vigor and courage.


After the war his thoughts returned to the welfare of Ex-service men and by heart and voice he made an excellent contribution to this  worthy cause. After the formation of the G.W.V.A. he was elected as President in the early years and his interest since then has never wavered. With others he regarded the G.W.V.A. as the only solution to the many problems which confronted the ex-service man.


His love of country, his broad outlook and his kindly feeling for returned men all tended to kindle an enthusiasm for that institution which never faltered to the end. He well knew that the fundamentals underlying this Association consisted of dignity, comradeship and  lively recollection of the men who never came back, and devoted service  to those who did back, but broken in health, requiring assistance to face an uncertain future. These principles he fostered and how well he succeeded only those who were associated with him really knew.


Today during the solemn and fitting ceremonies by the Church and the Military our thoughts went back to the days of long ago. As the funeral cortege wended its way to the measured step of old comrades who still know how to march, we thought of those hectic war years when the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in all its glory marched to the measured step in many a foreign land. Comrade Nugent who often participated in those marches would have been glad today to have seen the respect in which he was held and the smart way in which the Military did him honor. (But who knows he may have seen it all).


As the President and his Officers, the Past Presidents, ex-officers  and other members of the Canadian Legion Grand Fall]s Branch (or the G.W.V.A. as it was previously known) who attended the funeral listened to the last post, so well rendered  and looked for the last time on his casket and, as a Past President read the ritual and comrades dropped the red poppy, we remember again that Comrade M J Nugent had given his best that his would be a just reward.


To Mrs. Nugent who shared his joys and sorrows and gave all that a loving wife could give, and to all members of his immediate family, relatives, the deepest sympathy of the entire community is extended.


[Grand Falls advertiser, Nov. 1952]



Brothers Meet After 49 Years


Mr. M.J. Nugent of Riverview Road welcomed his brother, Mr. Bernard Nugent, of Edmonton, Alberta, to Grand Falls yesterday morning. It was the first time the two had met in forty-nine years. Mr. Bernard Nugent is the manager of a coal mine at Three Hills, Alberta, a small town 85 miles north east of Calgary, and 170 miles S.E. of Edmonton, where makes his home. Mr. Nugent is visiting Newfoundland with his wife, the former Bride Duke of Fox Harbour, Placentia Bay. Mrs. Nugent is staying with relatives in Fox Harhour.


Mr. Nugent left Newfoundland in 1901, to work in the mines at Glace Bay, N.S. He returned to Newfoundland, and in 1904 left again going out west to work during the harvesting season. He went back to Glace Bay and worked in the mines in 1906. While there he married Miss Duke in 1907. Two years after his marriage Mr. Nugent returned to Alberta, and has been there ever since. For several years previous to taking over the management of the Three Hills coal mine, Mr. Nugent was a Senior District Inspector of Mines with the Albertan Government.


(Grand Falls Nfld. Newspaper, 1951)



Page contributed by: Aiden Nugent (July 2002)
Page revised: Oct. 2002 (Terry Piercey)

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