Sergeant William R. Bridgett was the second son of James and Matilda Bridgett, Tamlaght, Coagh, later of Coagh Street, Cookstown, and husband of Esther Bridgett, 41 Victoria Road, Darlington, County Durham. William Bridgett had previously served with the Inniskilling Fusiliers during the Boer War in South Africa and his brother Alfred was killed at Middleburg, Transvaal in 1901. William joined the Yorkshire Regiment, enlisting in Middlesbrough, at the outbreak of the First World War, and married his wife, Esther, in May 1915. William was killed in action in Gallipoli on 12th December 1915.
William Robert Bridgett was the second son of James and Matilda Bridgett. James Bridgett and Matilda Geddes were married on 10th September 1875 in the district of Cookstown.
William Robert Bridgett was born on 17th March 1878 in Tamlaght, Coagh. He was the second of twelve children, ten surviving.
The family lived in Tamlaght, Coagh.
Known family: James Bridgett, Matilda Bridgett, Samuel Bridgett (born 20th July 1876, Coagh), William Robert Bridgett (born 17th March 1878, Coagh), Mary Bridgett (born 24th February 1880, Coagh), Joseph Bridgett (born 12th February 1882, Coagh), Sarah Bridgett (born 16th April 1884, Coagh), Matilda Bridgett (born 22nd August 1886, Coagh), Andrew Bridgett (born 19th March 1888, Coagh), Margaret Bridgett (born 14th June 1890, Cookstown), David Bridgett (born 4th May 1892, Cookstown), Annie Bridgett 7 (born 13th March 1894, Cookstown), John Bridgett 5 (born 7th February 1896, Cookstown)
The family moved to Cookstown about 1893.
William Bridgett had previously served with the Inniskilling Fusiliers during the Boer War in South Africa
The 1901 census does not list William as living with the family at house 9 in Coagh Street Lane, Cookstown. His father was an ironmonger and yard man.
His brother Alfred was killed at Middleburg, Transvaal, South Africa in 1901 (tbc).
The 1911 census lists William as age 32, living with the family at house 4 in Coagh Street Lane, Cookstown. William and his father were general labourers.
William joined the Yorkshire Regiment, enlisting in Middlesbrough, at the outbreak of the First World War. He was living in Darlington at the time.
He married to an English woman, Esther, in May 1915.
From the Mid Ulster Mail unknown date in 1915: Serious accident in Cookstown
James Bridgett, Coagh Street, Cookstown, for many years carter to Mr John Todd, merchant, met with a serious accident on Monday evening. Mr Bridgett, who has lost an eye years ago, and usually wore glasses, while about his ordinary duties, was struck on the spectacles from a stone when passing some boys who were amusing themselves throwing stones on the street. The glass was broken, and many small pieces knocked into his sound eye. He suffered intense pain, and it was feared that he had been totally blinded. Drs Knight and Elliott were quickly in attendance and the broken glass was removed and the eye bandaged. On Tuesday, Rev Robert Hyndman and Mr Todd procured a motor car, and Mr Hyndman and John Bridgett, his son, accompanied the injured man to Belfast for treatment. Dr Killen, having made a careful examination, was able to announce that the sight had not been destroyed, and that the injured man would soon be all right. Rev Mr Hyndman, on his return, delivered this cheering news to Mrs Bridgett and family, who were naturally greatly alarmed at the accident. The injured man remains in Belfast for treatment. It may be mentioned that three of Mr Bridgett’s sons are at present in the army, and that one was killed in South Africa.
Sergeant William Bridgett was killed in action in Gallipoli on 12th December 1915. He was 37 years old.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 15th January 1916:
Bridgett, Killed in Action on December 12, 1915, Sergeant-Major William Robert Bridgett, 6th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, second son of James Bridgett, Coagh Street, Cookstown.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 15th January 1916: Sergeant Major William R Bridgett
6th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment, second son of Mr James Bridgett, Coagh Street, Cookstown, killed in action on 12th December 1915. He had a good many years service, having been through the South African War with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He joined the Yorkshires at the outbreak of the present war. He was married to an English woman in May 1915. A brother of the deceased, Alfred, was killed at Middleburg, Transvaal in 1901. Another brother, Andrew, is at present at the front and Samuel is serving at Bulford Camp, while a brother of his wife was killed in action some time ago. Much sympathy is felt for his parents who are held in the highest respect. At the meeting of the Cookstown Y.M.C.A. on Tuesday evening, Mr John Glasgow J.P., presiding, on the motion of Mr John Ramsey, seconded by Mr William Warnock, a resolution of sympathy was passed to his brother John, who is a member, and also to his parents and other relatives.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 22nd January 1916: The Late Sergeant Major William R Bridgett
At the morning service in First Presbyterian Church on Sunday last, Rev R Hyndman, B.A., said they were all deeply grieved during the week to hear of the death of Sergeant Major William R Bridgett, who had laid down his life for his country. The deceased belonged to a family that was soldierly in spirit, his brother having been killed in the south African war, through which he had also been, while two brothers are now serving with the colours. He had died in a great cause, and they all sympathised with his father and mother, and the other members of the family in their great sorrow.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 16 December 1916:
BRIDGETT – In loving memory of my dear husband, Sergeant Major William R Bridgett, 6th Yorks Regiment, who was killed in the Dardanelles on 12th December 1915.
My home is so lonely, my heart is so sad.
My husband was all the comfort I had;
He fought in the battle, for his country he fell,
Defending his home, he was struck by a shell.
God knows how much I miss him,
And He counts the tears I shed,
And whispers ‘Hush, he only sleeps,
Your loved one is not dead.’
None can tell how dear we loved him;
In life, he’ll not return,
For now he sleeps with England’s heroes,
In the watchful care of God.’
Inserted by his sorrowing wife, 94 Westmoreland Street, North Row, Darlington.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 16 December 1916:
BRIDGETT – In loving memory of my dearly beloved son, Sergeant Major William Robert Bridgett, 6th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment, who was killed in action on 12th December 1915.
‘We do not know, we could not tell,
What pain he had to bear;
We only know he gave his life,
For King and country there.
Duty called him, he was there,
To do his bit and take his share;
His heart was good, his spirit brave,
His resting place a soldier’s grave.
We will not murmur, ‘tis God’s good will;
Though he sleeps behind the Turkish hills;
But a sad and yearning memory dwells
With the silent sleeper in the Dardanelles.’
Inserted by his loving father, mother, sisters and brothers (Andrew, Samuel and David being on active service), Coagh Street, Cookstown.
Sergeant Bridgett is buried at Hill 10 Cemetery, Turkey.
William R. Bridgett is commemorated on Cookstown Cenotaph and on First Presbyterian Roll of Honour, Cookstown.
The CWGC record Sergeant William R Bridgett as the son of James and Matilda Bridgett, of Tamlaght, Co. Tyrone. The CWGC also record William as the husband of Esther Bridgett, of 41, Victoria Road, Darlington.