Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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10534   Private William McAleece
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 01/05/2020
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (British Army)
Date Of Birth: 02/04/1894
Died: 10/07/1916 (Killed in Action)
Age: 22
Summary      
William McAleece was the eldest son of James and Isabella McAleece. He was born in Ballyclog, Stewartstown on 2nd April 1894. He was the eldest of five children. The family lived in Ballyveeny, half way between Coagh and Stewartstown. His father was a farmer. His mother was a widow by 1911. William worked on a farm. Private William McAleece was serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed in action on Monday 10th July 1916.
Further Information
William McAleece was the eldest son of James and Isabella McAleece. James McAleece and Isabella McCord were married on 21st February 1894.
William was born in Ballyclog, Stewartstown, County Tyrone on 2nd April 1894. He was the eldest of five children.
The 1901 census lists William as age 6, living with the family at house 13 in Ballyveeny, Ballyclog. His father James McAleece was a farmer.
Known family: James McAleece, Isabella McAleece, William McAleece (born 2nd April 1894), James McAleece (born 22nd May 1896), Matilda McAleece (born 3rd March 1899), Isabella McAleece (9th December 1901), Anna McAleece (born 19th August 1905).
The 1911 census lists William as age 17 living with his mother at house 6 in Ballyveeny, Ballyclog, Stewartstown. His father had died. His mother worked as a domestic servant. William worked on a farm.
William enlisted in the army in Cookstown.
Medal card
Private William McAleece was serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when they landed at Le Havre on 22nd August 1914.
Private McAleece and went on to take part in engagements at Le Cateau, The Marne, The Aisne, Meteren, Armentieres, Douvre Farm and Ploegsteert Wood in 1914. In January 1915 the Battalion was posted to the 5th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Division was saw action at Festubert and Richebourg.
William was home on leave in late 1915.
From the Mid Ulster Mail unknown date in late 1915: Private William McAleece
Going to France on 7th August 1914, and almost immediately being engaged with his battalion (the 2nd Inniskillings) and passing through exactly twelve months of active service without a scratch, Private William McAleece was enabled to spend four days with his mother at Ballyveeny last week. He has back to the front again. Of the horrors of the ten days and nights reluctant retreat from Mons he speaks with bated breath, but describes with satisfaction the terrible punishment inflicted on the enemy when at last permission was given to advance and the Germans were driven back to the Marne. He agrees with those who have described the Germans as cowards. They may be brave enough in a mass at a distance, but they stand in mortal terror of the bayonet. Private McAleece says he was very near to where poisonous gas was used, but was fortunate enough to escape it. He was quite close to Lord Northland when he was shot and saw him fall. Replying to a question, the seasoned looking young soldier said he was going back to the front willingly and gladly and would not remain away if he could.
By December 1915 the Battalion was posted to the 96th Brigade, 32nd Division and took part in the Somme offensive in July 1916.
At 9pm on 9th July 1916 the Battalion moved out into the shell torn No Manís Land north-west of Ovillers with the objective to take a series of enemy trenches. These were quickly captured overnight and the enemy launched a counter attack which was beaten back by the Lewis-gunners. Early on 10th July 1916 the Battalion spent their time strengthening their captured position and that night were ordered to exploit their gains by pushing forward to take a further German position. Before they could achieve this they were engaged in some heavy hand to hand fighting with the enemy in which Private William McAleece was killed in action. He was 21 years old.
From the Tyrone Courier dated 10 August 1916:
Newspaper Report
Lance Corporal W. McAleece, Stewartstown, is officially reported killed in action.
From the Tyrone Courier dated 14th December 1916:
Information has been received of the death in action of Corporal William McAleece, elder son of Mrs McAleece, Ballyveeny, who had been reported missing.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 16 December 1916:
MCALEECE Ė 10th July (killed in action), Corporal William McAleece, Inniskilling Fusiliers, elder son of Mrs McAleece, Ballynuey, Stewartstown.
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 18th December 1916:
Corporal William McAleece, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Ballyveney, Stewartstown, killed.
Private McAleece has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France.
Private William McAleece is commemorated locally on Stewartstown Cenotaph and also on Donaghendry Church of Ireland Roll of Honour (as William McAleish), Stewartstown.
It is strongly suspected that Private William McAleece and Lance Corporal James McAleece were brothers. However, no definitive proof has been found to confirm this.
Read more
Relevant Cookstown Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Ballyveeny, Ballyclog Stewartstown Census listing in Ballyveeny 54.608465 -6.646898
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists McAleese family 1901 census lists William as age 6 at house 13 in Bally veeny, Ballyclog
2 1911 Census lists McAleece family 1911 census lists William as age 17 at house 6 in Ballyveeny, Ballyclog
3 Lance Corporal James McAleece Very probably the brother of Private William McAleece
4 National Archives UK Medal card can be purchased here
Cookstown District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2010-2023