Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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7871   Private William Nixon
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 22/05/2018
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (British Army)
Died: 26/08/1914 (Killed in Action)
Age: 30
Summary      
William Nixon was the son of Joseph and Jane Nixon. He was born about 1885 in Derryloran area of Cookstown. By 1901, William had left school and was working as a post boy. His mother is recorded as a widow. From about 1905, William had been employed in Adair’s Mill at Greenvale. William Nixon and Emma Davidson were married in 1909. They went on to have two children. William had been on the Reserve Army prior to the outbreak of the war. Private William Nixon was serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed in action near Mons in Belgium on Wednesday 26th August 1914.
Private William Nixon
Further Information
William Nixon was the son of Joseph and Jane Nixon. Joseph Nixon and Jane Purvis were married on 20th October 1882 in the district of Cookstown.
William Nixon was born about 1885 in Derryloran area of Cookstown.
Known family: Joseph Nixon, Jane Nixon, William Nixon (born about 1885), John Nixon (born 8th June 1888, died 12th October 1900, aged 12), Margaret Nixon (born 26th May 1891), Mary Nixon (born 19th July 1893), Annie Nixon (born about 1897).
William’s father, Joseph Nixon, died on 18th October 1900 in the district of Cookstown. He was 48 years old. William’s younger brother John had died just six days earlier, age 12.
The 1901 census lists William as age 11, living with the family at house 12 in Killymoon Demesne, Cookstown. William had left school and was working as a post boy. His mother is recorded as a widow.
From about 1905, William had been employed in Adair’s Mill at Greenvale.
Greenvale Mill, Cookstown
William Nixon and Emma Davidson were married on 10th July 1909 in the district of Cookstown. They went on to have two children.
The 1911 census lists William as age 26, living with his wife and child at house 25 in Gortalowry, Cookstown Rural. William was a mill worker and Emma was a linen weaver.
Family: William Nixon, Emma Nixon, William Nixon (born 15th January 1910), Jane Jean Nixon (born 18th August 1911).
William had been on the Reserve Army prior to the outbreak of the First World War and was called up when war was declared and sent to France with the first British Expeditionary Force.
On 26th August 1914, the opening day of Battle of Le Cateau, his battalion were at first driven back but then recovered most of the lost ground and it was during this recovery that William was killed.
Private William Nixon was serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed in action near Mons in Belgium on Wednesday 26th August 1914.
His last letter to his wife was written on the 23rd August and was received by her on the day he was killed. In it he said he had taken God as his guide and if they did not meet on earth his trust was that they would meet in a brighter and better world.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 17th October 1914: Deaths
NIXON – 26th August, killed in action, place unknown (probably near Mons), William Nixon, Louisville, Cookstown. No 7871 Private 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 17th October 1914: Death of a Cookstown Soldier - Private William Nixon, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
This week official confirmation has been received of the death of Private William Nixon, of the Inniskillings, who was killed in action on 26th August. The intelligence of Private Nixon’s death was first received over a week ago, in a letter from a comrade, and it is believed that he was one of the victims of the battles near Mons. Private Nixon, who was just 30 years of age, was a reservist, having enlisted in the Inniskillings when 18 years of age. He was for the last nine years employed at Greenvale Mills, and rejoined the colours with the first batch who left Cookstown when war was declared. He was an enthusiastic member of Cookstown Company of the Ulster Volunteers and rendered good service as a section leader. In football circles he was well known and was one of the popular players in the Cookstown Club, and while with the Volunteers at Baronscourt was a leading spirit in promoting sports at the camp during recreational hours. When leaving for the front he seemed to have a presentiment that he would not be spared to return, but said to his friends, when bidding goodbye, that if it was decreed that he should die it would be in a glorious cause. A letter to his wife, written on Sunday 23rd August, and received by her on the date of his death, said that he had taken God as his guide, and that if they did not meet on earth, his trust was that they would meet in a brighter and better world. He referred to his favourite hymn – the Ulster Covenant song:- ‘Our God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home.’ And urged that the people at home should pray for Britain’s victory. Much sympathy is felt with the young widow, who is in delicate health, and the two orphan children, a boy aged four and a half years, and a girl three years, along with his brother and his mother and sisters, who reside at Dunmurry. The deceased was a member of the Church of Ireland and if the Orange Institution.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 24th October 1914:
At a specially summoned meeting of Strifehill L.O.L. on Monday night the following resolution was passed in silence:-
‘We, the members of Strifehill L.O.L., desire to place on record our sincerest sorrow on the death of our noble and worthy brother, Private W Nixon, on the battlefield of France. His death brings to remembrance the true principles which animated our forefathers, when they too sacrificed their lives on behalf of King and country. Though we deeply mourn his death, we honour him among the heroes of the past, and from the history of our lodge his memory will never fade. To his dear wife and brother, and other relatives, we extend our heartfelt sympathy on their sad bereavement.’
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 26th August 1916:
NIXON – In memory of Private William Nixon, Louisville, Cookstown, 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Killed in action in the retreat from Mons, 26th August 1914.
‘Take comfort, Christians, when your friends in Jesus fall asleep,
There better being never ends; why then dejected weep?
Why inconsolable, as those to whom no hope is given?
Death is the messenger of peace, and calls the soul to Heaven.
Together to their Father’s house, with joyful hearts they go,
And dwell for ever with the Lord, beyond the reach of woe.
A few short years of evil past, we reach the happy shore,
Where death divided friends at last, shall meet to part no more.’
Inserted by his loving wife and two children.
Private William Nixon is buried in Esnes Communal Cemetery, France.
Private Nixon shares a headstone with Private Robert McShane, who was born in Dungannon and served with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers and died on 27th August 1914.
Tragically, his great friend Private Robert Falls was killed on the same day. He is commemorated on the La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial in France.
Private William Nixon is commemorated locally on Cookstown Cenotaph and on St. Luran’s Church of Ireland Roll of Honour, Derryloran, Cookstown.
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Relevant Cookstown Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Blue Doors, Killymoon Cookstown South Born at Blue Doors, Coolkeeghan 54.629906 -6.742096
2 Gortalowry Cookstown South Census listing in Gortalowry 54.634343 -6.744015
3 Lindseyville Tullyhogue Newspaper lists family in Lindseyville 54.601209 -6.740592
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists Nixon family Lists William as age 11 living with the family at house 12 in Killymoon Demesne, Cookstown
2 1911 Census lists Nixon family Lists William as age 26 living with his family at house 25 in Gortalowry, Cookstown Rural
3 Derryloran Parish Church of Ireland Roll of Honour Published in the Mid-Ulster Mail on Saturday 2 January 1915
4 FindAGrave.com Photo of Private William Nixon's grave
5 National Archives UK Medal card can be purchased here
6 Private Robert Falls Friend
7 Private Robert McShane, Dungannon War Dead Shares a headstone with Private William Nixon
8 War Graves Photographic Project Photo of Private William Nixon's grave can be purchased here
Cookstown District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2010-2018