Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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23065   Private Michael McWilliams
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 02/04/2018
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 7th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (British Army)
Date Of Birth: 20/09/1893
Died: 09/09/1916 (Killed in Action)
Age: 22
Summary      
Michael McWilliams was the eldest son of John and Maggie McWilliams. He was born in Lissan, near Moneymore on 20th September 1893. He was the oldest of seven children, five surviving. They all seem to have been born in Lissan. John McWilliams was a labourer. Private Michael McWilliams was serving with the 7th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed in action in France on Saturday 9th September 1916. In his will, Michael left his effects to his mother, who was living at Tullynure Cottage in Lissan, Cookstown.
Further Information
Michael McWilliams was the eldest son of John and Maggie McWilliams. John McWilliams and Margaret McIlkennan were married on 10th November 1892 in the district of Cookstown.
Michael McWilliams was born in Lissan, near Moneymore on 20th September 1893. He was the oldest of seven children, five surviving. They all seem to have been born in Lissan.
The 1901 census records Michael as 7 years old. He was living with the family at Clagan, Lissan Upper, County Londonderry. John McWilliams worked as a labourer.
Known family: John McWilliams, Margaret McWilliams, Michael McWilliams (born 20th September 1893), Catherine McWilliams (born 19th August 1895), Mary Anne McWilliams (born about 1898), Bridget McWilliams (born about 1900), John McWilliams (born 17th March 1902, died 25th April 1902), John McWilliams (born 20th October 1903), Bella Margaret McWilliams (born 10th August 1909).
By the time of the 1911 census, Michael was no longer living with the family, who were living in Caneese, Lissan Upper, County Londonderry.
Michael enlisted with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in Cookstown.
The 7th Inniskillings formed part of 49 Brigade of the 16th (Irish) Division and were moved to the Somme in August 1916. On the 8th September 1916 the 7th Inniskillings spent the night at Carnoy and then moved to Guillemont for the attack on Ginchy the following day.
Private Michael McWilliams was serving with the 7th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed in action in France on Saturday 9th September 1916.
During the attack on the 9th September, the 7th Inniskillings moved across the open ground, encountering an intense enemy barrage of machine gun fire and shrapnel in which 3 officers and 43 other ranks of the battalion were killed.
In his will, Michael left his effects to his mother, who was living at Tullynure Cottage in Lissan, Cookstown.
Last Will and Testament of Private Michael McWilliams dated 1st July 1916:
Michael McWilliams : Handwritten Will
Michael McWilliams : Will Information
In the event of my death, I give the whole of my property and effects to my mother, Mrs Maggie McWilliams, Tullynure Cottage, Lissan, Cookstown, County Derry, Ireland. Private 23065, 7th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 1 July 1916.
Private Michael McWilliams has no known grave and is commemorated on the panel 4D-5B on Thiepval Memorial in France.
There is a J McWilliams commemorated on Moneymore War Memorial, which is now presumed to be Private Michael McWilliams. He is mentioned briefly in the Cookstown War Dead book, on page 302, which speculates that he may have survived the war.
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Relevant Cookstown Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Clagan, Lisson Upper Lissan Census listing in Clagan, Lisson Upper 54.707808 -6.783693
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists McWilliams family 1901 Census lists Michael as 7 living with the family at house 22 in Clagan, Lisson Upper, Londonderry
2 1911 Census lists McWilliams family 1911 Census does not list Michael as living with his parents at house 4 in Caneese, Lissan Upper, Londonderry
3 J McWilliams There is an unknown J McWilliams listed on Moneymore War Memorial
4 National Archives of Ireland Last Will and Testament of Michael McWilliams
5 National Archives UK Medal card can be purchased here
Cookstown District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2010-2018