Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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17806   Private William McGookin
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 01/05/2020
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 9th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (British Army)
Date Of Birth: 03/06/1896
Died: 01/07/1916 (Killed in Action)
Age: 20
Summary      
William McGookin was the second son of William and Rachel McGookin and the brother of John and Margretta of Donaghrisk, Tullyhogue, Cookstown, and later of Blackhill, Cookstown. William was a member of Tullyhogue Company of Ulster Volunteers and a member of Derryraghan L.O.L. 131. Two members of his Company wrote to his home to say that they had seen William being hit by a bullet and he had died instantly.
Private William McGookin
Further Information
William McGookin was the second son of William and Rachel McGookin, nee Doole. They were married in the Magherafelt area on 5th May 1893.
The spelling of the family name varies throughout, but the CWGC spelling of McGookin is used for simplicity.
William was born on 3rd June 1896 in County Londonderry.
Family: William McGuckin, Rachel McGuckin, Thomas J McGuckin (born 20th December 1894), William McGuckin (born 3rd June 1896), Margretta McGuckin (born 10th April 1898), Robert John McGuckin (born 10th April 1899).
The 1901 census lists William as age 4, living with the family at house 2 in Lisalbanagh, Brackaghslievegallion, Londonderry. His father was a farm labourer.
By the time of the 1911 census, William and the family had moved to Cross Glebe, The Sandholes, Cookstown, County Tyrone. William was 15 years old and still at school.
William was a member of Tullyhogue Company of Ulster Volunteers and a member of Derryraghan L.O.L. 131.
1914
William McGookin enlisted in Cookstown in November 1914.
Medal card
1916
Private William McGookin was serving with the 9th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed in action on 1st July 1916 at the Somme. He was 19 years old.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 15th July 1916:
Newspaper Report
Private William McGuckin, 9th Inniskillings, son of Mr William McGuckin, The Priory, Tullyhogue, has been officially reported killed on 1st July 1916.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 25 November 1916: Private William McGookin
Mr William McGookin, Donaghrisk, Tullyhogue, has now received intimation that his son, Private William McGookin, 9th Inniskillings, was killed in the great advance of the Ulster Division. In writing to his parents after 1st July, Colonel Ricardo said:-
‘I have to inform you with much regret that your son is missing since the battle of 1st July. Every possible enquiry has been made, but without result, and I fear now there can be little doubt but that he fell on that occasion. He helped to uphold the honour of his regiment and to make the Ulster Division famous. He was a good comrade and will be missed by us all. Please accept the sincere sympathy of all ranks in the battalion in your sorrow.’
Two members of his company writing recently, say that Willie was hit by a bullet and they saw him fall and he died instantly. He seemed to suffer no pain whatever. He was a gallant soldier and a good comrade and beloved by all the officers and men in the battalion. The last words they heard him say as he went over the parapet were, ‘Come on lads don’t be afraid, if God is on our side, who can be against us?’ All the boys in the battalion deeply sympathise with you all, and pray that God may comfort you in your great loss.
Private McGuckin was just 19 years of age, and before volunteering in November 1914, was a member of Derryraghan L.O.L. No. 131 and a very useful member of Tullyhogue Company U.V.F. His death is deeply regretted by a large circle of acquaintances about Tullyhogue, where he was a general favourite.
Two members of his Company wrote to his home to say that they had seen William being hit by a bullet and he had died instantly. He seemed to suffer no pain and according to them he was a gallant soldier and a good comrade. The last words they heard him say as he went over the parapet were:-
'Come on lads don’t be afraid, if God is on our side, who can be against us?'
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 25th November 1916:
MCGOOKIN – Killed on 1st July 1916. Private William McGuckin, 9th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, second son of William McGookin, Donaghrisk, Tullyhogue.
‘His warfare is over, his battle fought;
His victory won, though dearly bought.
His fresh young life could not be saved.
He slumbers now in a soldier’s grave.
We loved him in life; he is dear to us still.
In grief we must bend to God’s holy will.
The trial was great, the loss heavy to bear,
And the angels dear Willie, will attend you with care.
Dear is the spot where our brother is laid;
Sweet is the memory that never shall fade,
Fondly trusting again we shall meet,
Kneeling together at Jesus’ feet.’
Deeply regretted by his loving brother and sister, John and Margretta McGookin, Donaghrisk, Tullyhogue; and all his cousins who are now on active service.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 25th November 1916:
MCGOOKIN – Killed on 1st July 1916. Private William McGuckin, 9th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, second son of William McGookin, Donaghrisk, Tullyhogue.
‘Now the earthly fight is over, and in perfect peace he sleeps.
Till he meets again his loved ones, angels carefully him keeps.
Sharp was your life, my darling son, but peaceful is your rest.
Your mother misses you most of all, Twas she who loved you best.
The news was sad, the blow was hard, God’s will it shall be done.
With a manly heart he did his part, my dear beloved son.
In a foreign distant land, there our darling Willie sleeps.
Nothing can hurt or harm, Jesus safe his spirit keeps.
O God of love, O God of peace, Make wars throughout the world to cease.
The wrath of sinful man restrain, Give peace O God, Give peace again.’
Deeply regretted by his loving father and mother, and other relatives.
1918
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 29th June 1918:
McGOOKIN – In sad and loving memory of our dear son, Private Willie McGookin, 9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who was killed in action on 1st July 1916 at Thiepval, in the glorious charge of the Ulster Division.
‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord that they may rest from their labours’ Revelations XIV, 13
‘From all Thy saints in warfare,
From all Thy saints at rest,
To Thee O Blessed Jesus
All praises be addressed.
Thou Lord didst win the battle,
That they might conquerors be;
Their crowns of living glory,
Are lit with rays from Thee.’
Sadly missed by his sorrowing father and mother, brother and sister, Tullyhogue.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 29th June 1918:
McGOOKIN – In loving memory of our dear nephew, Private Willie McGookin, 9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Fusiliers, who was killed in action on 1st July 1916 at Thiepval, in the glorious charge of the Ulster Division.
‘On fame’s eternal camping ground,
Their silent tents are spread;
And glory guards with honour round,
The bivouac of the dead.’
Ever remembered by his sorrowing uncles and cousins, Sergeant William Harold Purvis, Sergeant Willie Dool, Corporal Victor Purvis, Gunner Ewman Purvis, Private Eddie McGookin, Private George Dool, Private Bob Purvis, Private Bob Wylie, 95 Bloomhill Street, Brigtown, Scotland.
Memorials
William has no known grave and is commemorated on panel 4D-5B on Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, France.
Private William McGookin is commemorated locally on Cookstown Cenotaph and also on the WW1 Roll of Honour in Desertcreat Parish Church.
The CWGC record Private McGookin as the son of William and Rachel McGookin, of Black Hill, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone.
Read more
Relevant Cookstown Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Donaghrisk, Tullyhogue Tullyhogue Lived in Donaghrisk, Tullyhogue 54.605219 -6.733310
2 Blackhill, Cookstown Cookstown South CWGC lists parents in Blackhill 54.633356 -6.756675
3 Lisalbanagh, Brackaghslievegallion Moneymore Census listing in Brackaghslievegallion 54.741320 -6.662261
4 Cross Glebe, Sandholes Sandholes Census listing in Cross Glebe, Sandholes 54.598269 -6.778161
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists McGookin family 1901 census lists William as age 4 at house 2 in Lisalbanagh, Brackaghslievegallion, Londonderry
2 1911 Census lists 'McGooken' family Lists William as age 15 living with the family at house 8 in Cross Glebe, The Sandholes, Tyrone
3 National Archives UK Medal card can be purchased here
Cookstown District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2010-2020