7th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (British Army)
Date Of Birth:
28/04/1916 (Died of Wounds)
Private William Wilson was born in Ballyronan, County Londonderry and was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Wilson. Church Street, Cookstown. At the outbreak of war, William had been working and living in Scotland, with his sister Mrs. McGlade, 94 Aitchison Street, Airdrie, and William enlisted in the ranks of the Inniskilling Regiment there.
William Wilson was the son of Samuel and Mary Anne Wilson (nee Watterson). William was born in Ballyronan on 2nd September 1884.
The 1901 census lists William as age 16, living with the family at house 54 in Church Street, Cookstown. William was a dresser in a factory. His father worked as a Manager in a Yarn Store. It seems the family all worked in a local linen factory.
By the time of the 1911 census, William no longer lived with the family. They still lived in Church Street, Cookstown.
Family: Samuel Wilson, Mary Anne Wilson, Eliza Wilson (born about 1879), Sarah Wilson (born 18th April 1880), Thomas Wilson (born 2nd May 1882), William J Wilson (born 2nd September 1884), John/James Wilson (born 25th September 1886), Alexander Wilson (born 3rd November 1888), Adam Wilson (born 1st March 1893), Alfred Wilson (born 13th January 1895), Frederick Wilson (born 21st April 1897), Samuel Wilson (born about 1900), Mary Wilson (born about 1904)
At the outbreak of war, William had been working and living in Scotland with his sister Mrs McGlade, 94 Aitchison Street, Airdrie. William enlisted in the ranks of the Inniskilling Regiment there.
In the early hours of the morning of the 27th April 1916, the 7th Inniskillings were subject to ferocious machine gun and rifle fire, followed by an artillery bombardment and the release of gas.
Private William Wilson died of wounds as a result of the gas attack. He was 31 years old.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 27th May 1916: Private William Wilson, Church Street, Cookstown
Mr and Mrs Wilson, Church Street, Cookstown, have received official intimation that their son, Private William Wilson, 7th Inniskillings, was fatally gassed while in action on 28th April 1916. They had previously received a kindly letter from the Chaplain that he was seriously ill as the result of the gas attack, and in hospital. As the death took place on the date of the Chaplain’s letter, it was evident that it was considerably intended to prepare them for the sad news of his death. The deceased soldier, who was employed in Airdrie, Scotland, joined from there in November last, and was only about four weeks at the front when he met his death. He was of a quiet kindly disposition, and greatly respected by all who knew him. The deceased has three brothers in the army, one of whom was wounded lately. Much sympathy is felt for the bereaved parents.
At a special meeting of Tullyhogue L.O.L. 101, held on Monday night, Br. Robert Mullan in the chair, assisted by Br. Henry Steenson in the vice-chair, the secretary, Br James Davidson, was instructed to forward the following resolution to the parents of the late Br. Wilson:-
‘That we, the members of this lodge, wish to express our deepest sympathy with you in the loss which you have sustained by the death of your dear son, and we pray that the Great Comforter may strengthen you in your time of trial.’
William’s brothers, Thomas, John and Adam also served during the First World War.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 1st July 1916: Wounded Cookstown Sergeant Home Thomas Wilson (brother of William Wilson)
Sergeant Thomas Wilson, 9th Scottish Rifles, who was seriously wounded at Loos, is home on furlough. He received five wounds during the engagement. A piece of shell struck the left side of his face, the scar of which is showing from the chin to the ear. He was also struck by bullets on the right breast and on the legs, and the front finger of his right hand was shot away. He says he probably got some of the wounds after he was knocked over, as the bullets were as thick as rain and the smoke of the thickly bursting shells rendered vision almost impossible. He was in hospital for seven months. His health is now quite recovered, and he has for some time been on duty as sergeant major on service in Scotland. He is one of four sons of Mr Samuel Wilson, and Mrs Wilson, Church Street, Cookstown, who are or who have served in the present war. William was fatally gassed on 28th April 1916; John is missing for the past three months; and Adam, who is in the Ulster Division, was wounded, but is again on active service.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 15th July 1916: John Wilson (brother of William Wilson)
Private John Wilson, son of Mr Samuel Wilson, Church Street, Cookstown, has been wounded in the leg and chest and is in a base hospital. He is in the 1st Cameronians. His brother, Sergeant Thomas Wilson, was on furlough lately, just recovering from several serious wounds received at Loos. Another was fatally gassed some months ago. There is a fourth brother in the Ulster Division who was wounded early in the present year.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 27th April 1918:
WILSON – In affectionate remembrance of Private William Wilson, 5th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, son of Samuel Wilson, Church Street, Cookstown, who was killed in action in France, 28th April 1916, aged 30 years.
'For many years our family chain
Was closely linked together,
But, oh! That chain is broken now
One link has gone forever.
But the hardest part is yet to come,
When heroes do return;
When I miss among the cheering crowd
My, dear beloved son'
Inserted by his father, mother brother and sisters.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 27th April 1918:
WILSON – In memory of Private William Wilson, 5th Inniskilling Fusiliers, killed in France, 28th April 1916.
‘Little we thought it his time so short, in this world to remain,
When from his home he went away, He would never return again.
He wandered far from where his heart, had bound its earthly tie,
And in a strange and foreign land, his body now doth lie.’
Inserted by his sister, Mrs McGlade, 94 Aitchison? Street, Airdrie, Scotland
His father, Samuel Wilson, died as a result of an accident in Glasgow, on 8th March 1919, age 63.
Last Will and Testament
In his will, he left all to his mother, Mary Ann Wilson, who was living at Church Street, Cookstown.
Last Will and Testament of Private William Wilson:
In the event of my death, I give the whole of my property and effects to my mother Mary Ann Wilson, Church Street, Cookstown, Co Tyrone, Ireland. Private William J Wilson 3rd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Private William Wilson is buried in Philosophe British Military Cemetery, Mazingarbe, France.
William Wilson is commemorated on Cookstown Cenotaph and St. Luran’s Church of Ireland Roll of Honour, Derryloran, Cookstown.
William is also commemorated on the family headstone in Cookstown Cemetery.
The CWGC record Private William Wilson as the son of Samuel and Mary Ann Wilson, of Church St., Cookstown, Co. Tyrone and also note that he was born at Ballyronan, Co. Londonderry.