1st Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (British Army)
Date Of Birth:
22/11/1917 (Died of Wounds)
William James McMinn was a son of John and Mary Jane McMinn of Coalisland, County Tyrone. He was born in the parish of Derryloran, Cookstown. He was living in Motherwell and enlisted in Hamilton, Scotland with the 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers some time in late 1916. William was wounded at the Battle of Cambrai and removed to hospital and later died of his wounds.
William James McMinn was the second son of John and Mary Jane McMinn. John McMinn and Mary Jane McMinn (nee McMinn) were married on 6th April 1896 in the district of Dungannon.
William McMinn was born on 11th September 1898. Military records suggest he was born in the parish of Derryloran, Cookstown. However, GRONI record him as being born in the Coalisland area of Dungannon.
The 1901 census lists William James as age 2 living with the family at house 22 in Derry, Tullyniskane, County Tyrone. His father, John McMinn, was a spade finisher.
Family: John McMinn, Mary Jane McMinn, Robert John McMinn (born 21st March 1897), William James McMinn (born 11th September 1898), Frederick George McMinn (born 26th April 1900), Albert Edward McMinn (born 18th July 1902), Samuel Joseph McMinn (born 21st August 1905).
The 1911 census lists William James as age 12 living with the family at house 35 in Derry, Tullyniskane, County Tyrone. William was still at school.
William was a member of Coalisland L.O.L. No 93.
William was a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force.
Before enlisting, he had moved to Scotland and was living in Motherwell. He was employed on munitions.
William McMinn enlisted in Hamilton, Scotland with the 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers sometime in late 1916.
Private McMinn had only arrived at the front in France in September 1917.
Private William James McMinn was severely wounded and removed to hospital. Private McMinn died of wounds at 21st Casualty Clearing Station, France on 22nd November 1917. He was 19 years old.
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 30th November 1917:
Private William McMinn, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Derry, Coalisland, killed in action.
From the Tyrone Courier and News dated Thursday 5 December 1917:
Mr John McMinn, Derry, Coalisland, has been informed by the War Office that his son, Private William James McMinn, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died of wounds at 21st Casualty Clearing Station, France on 22nd November 1917. This plucky young soldier who at only 19 years of age, enlisted two years ago and had only been two months at the front when he was fatally wounded. Before enlisting, he was employed on munitions in Scotland and when at home was an enthusiastic member of the Ulster Volunteer Force. Another son of Mr McMinn, Private Robert McMinn, is with the 9th Inniskilling Fusiliers. He enlisted in September 1914, and is at present in hospital in Wales undergoing treatment for wounds received a short time ago and hopes to be home for Christmas. The Newmills Branch of the East Tyrone Unionist Association and the people of the district have tendered sympathy to Mr McMinn and family in their bereavement.
From the Tyrone Courier and News dated Thursday 13 December 1917: Coalisland Fallen Soldiers
At the monthly meeting of Coalisland L.O.L. No 93 held on Friday evening, Brother Thomas Neill, Worshipful Master presiding and Brother Thomas Holmes; Deputy Master in the vice-chair, the W.M. referred in feeling terms to the loss of more of their members who had fallen in action, namely 2nd Lieut. Joseph Marsh, Royal Irish Rifles, and Private William McMinn, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who had both been killed on the same day. Seven members of that Lodge had now fallen in this cruel war, fighting for King and Country. Brothers Robert J Cardwell and Robert A Montgomery had also been wounded, each for the fourth time so that their lodge’s record would be a glorious one. He proposed that the utmost sympathy on the members be conveyed to the parents of both Marsh and McMinn and the Secretary was directed to forward suitable letters of condolence. The lodge was then closed in the usual manner.
In his will, he left all to his mother, Mrs Jane McMinn, who was living at Derry, Coalisland.
Last Will and Testament of Private William McMinn dated 4th September 1917:
In the event of my death, I leave the whole of my property and effects to Mrs Jane McMinn, mother, Derry, Coalisland, County Tyrone. Signed William James McMinn, Private No 28158 3rd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
Private William McMinn is buried in Rocquigny-Equancourt Road Cemetery, France.
Another son of Mr McMinn, Private Robert McMinn, served with the 9th Inniskilling Fusiliers. He enlisted in September 1914, and was in hospital in Wales undergoing treatment for wounds received in autumn 1917.
Private William James McMinn is commemorated on Dungannon War Memorial and in Newmills Parish Church Of Ireland on their WWI Memorial.
The CWGC record Private William James McMinn as the son of John and Mary Jane McMinn, of Derry, Coalisland, County Tyrone.