Was Errol Flynn’s great grand father from Trim or Kildalkey? Was he a good friend of Ron. L. Hubbard, the founder of scientology?
In the July issue of the Australian Family Tree Connections 2009 Penny Armstrong makes the claim that John Flynn born about 1834 in Trim was the ancestor of Errol Flynn. John went on to serve in the British army and became a constable in Sydney, Australia. Penny recently visited the Meath Heritage Centre and deposited a copy of the magazine at the centre. Another visitor to the Heritage Centre said that John Flynn’s wife, Anne Conaty was born in Trim in 1831. Anne was the daughter of Michael Conaty and Mary Garvey. It was not possible to locate the baptism of Anne but other children o Michael and Mary were uncovered.
Errol Flynn was born in Hobart, Australia. On the actual centenary of Errol’s birth, 20 June 2009, his daughter Rory Flynn unveiled a star with his name on the footpath outside Hobart’s Heritage State Cinema.
Flynn had a very rebellious childhood and youth. He turned to acting in 1932 when he starred in the film In the Wake of the Bounty. He moved to California, where in 1935 he shot to stardom as the swashbuckling hero in Captain Blood. Flynn played Dr. Peter Blood, an Irishman convicted of treason against the king who is sentenced to slavery in the West Indies. He quickly became typecast as a dashing swashbuckler. In movies such as Captain Blood and The Adventures of Robin Hood, Flynn was the dashing hero whose winning smile and flashy swordplay made the ladies whimper with longing. Off screen Flynn had a reputation as a boozer, womanizer and all-around bad boy. His sixty movies included westerns, sea adventures and war movies such as The Charge of the Light Brigade, They Died With Their Boots On and The Adventures of Don Juan.
In Hollywood Flynn tended to refer to himself as Irish rather than Australian and he played an Irish man in a number of roles. In his autobiography he said Warner Brothers billed him as an Irishman from Ireland. In Dodge City Flynn played Wade Hatton an adventurer from Ireland.
Granted American citizenship in 1942 he never returned to Australia. In that year of 1942 Flynn offered to go to Ireland as a sort of ambassador and spy on behalf of America. More recent stories suggest that he was a Nazi spy. In the 1950s Flynn used Ireland as a location for one of his tv programmes.
Another link to Ireland was though his father. In June 1931 Errol’s father, Theodore, a distinguished marine biologist, took up the chair of zoology at Queen’s University, Belfast a position he held until retirement in 1948. Theodore became a member of the Royal Irish Academy, based in Dublin.
Married three times in his later years Errol became addicted to drink and narcotics. He did all his own stunts even when his health declined. He died on 14 October 1959 at Vancouver, Canada leaving three children.
A few of his quotes:
“It isn’t what they say about you, it’s what they whisper.”
“Women won’t let me stay single and I won’t let myself stay married.”
“If there’s anyone listening to whom I owe money, I’m prepared to forget about it if you are.”
His second wife Nora Haymes said “The only time he wasn’t living was when he was asleep, and even then I think he dreamt well.”
The Meath Heritage Centre records show that there was a John Flynn baptised at Kildalkey on 25th September 1834 to a father listed as James and a mother as Mary Priest. The name James was not used by Errol Flynn’s great grandfather for any of his male children which would have been the usual naming pattern then. Perhaps this is the John Flynn or maybe there was another but his baptism was not recorded. Trim’s parish registers can be a bit patchy particularly in these very early years so Errol Flynn’s ancestors may have come from Trim or Kildalkey!