Today is the anniversary of the start of WW2. Following today’s Roll is a short article based on a Lisburn newspaper report of an old soldier who had seen action against the Dervishes and the Boers, re-enlisting and being deployed in the Dardanelles where he somehow vanishes from any official record. Photo – Red Arrows over Ottawa.
Representing their comrades who died on this day
11th Royal Irish Rifles. Rifleman. 3795. Died at home 03/09/1915. Aged 19. Son of John and Nancy of Taylorstown, Toome. Grange Corner Presbyterian Church. Headstone reads … Privates Shepherd and Alex Hamill … Both died at home.
B” Coy. 2nd Bn. Leinster Regiment. Private. 3285. Aged 35. One of nine in the Battalion to die on this day. Son of William Elliott, of 35, Leeson St., Belfast; husband to Susan McCallan (formerly Elliott), of 41, Sultan St., Belfast. Theipval Memorial, Somme, France
6th Connaught Rangers. Private. 4414. Died Sunday, 03/09/1916, He was born in Randalstown and lived at 53 Silvio Street, Belfast (BWT). Theipval Memorial, Somme, France
2nd Bn. Leinster Regiment. Private. 2730. Died Sunday, 03/09/1916. Son of John and Jane nee McKinley, Murphy, Eglish Cottage, Glenshesk, Ballycastle. Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. Ballycastle WM.
+ROSS, Robert Simmie
King’s Own Scottish Borderers. 9th.Battalion. Second Lieutenant. Died 03/09/1916. Age 25. Commissioned on 14/06/1915. Prior to that he had spent nine months as a Private in the Calcutta Scottish Volunteers. Faculty of Medicine QUB 1908 – 1912. Campbell College. Born 11/12/1891. Son of George and Helena Berry Ross, Crescent, Kirkliston Dr., Bloomfield, later resident at Fountainhall Rd., Aberdeen. Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France. QUB RH
RN. Stoker 1st Class. SS112841. HMS Pembroke. Died 03/09/1917 result of an air raid on Chatham. Aged 23. Born Belfast 22/10/1893. Son of Wilson and Maria Cairns, Beechnut St., Old Park Rd., Belfast. Gillingham (Woodlands) Cemetery, Kent. IMR. ADM 188/1118/112841
+Hanna, Robert Charles
RAF (AAF). Sergeant. 816023. Died 03/09/1940. Aged 23. 254 Squadron. Son of Robert and Mary Hanna of Belfast. Knockbreda Cemetery
RAF. Pilot Officer. 49589. Twice Mentioned In Despatches. Died 03/09/1942. Aged 29. 218 Squadron, Son of Frank Rogers of Newry; Husband to Ethne Doreen Joyce Rogers of Paignton, Devon. Newry Old Chapel Roman Catholic Cemetery
+WARKE, Samuel Graham
RAFVR. Sergeant.1482490. Died 03/09/1943. 612 Sqdn. Son of Alfred and Margretta Mary Warke, of Ballybogey, Co. Antrim. Runnymeade Memorial, Surrey
MITCHELL, Arthur Brownlow
RAMC. Lt Colonel. OBE. MC. Blue Coat School, Dublin. RBAI. QCB MB 1890, FRCSI 1900. Surgeon RVH 1893 – 1930. Born 1865. Son of Walter and Alice Mitchell, Portadown. Husband to 1, Agnes and 2, Mable. Father of Arthur Gorman Mitchell (below). Died 03/09/1942, Derryvolgie Ave., Belfast. Belfast City Cemetery
3 September 1915
LISBURN NEWSPAPER’S REPORT OF DEATH
Private William Stevenson
Stevenson was an old soldier, “who saw much hard and severe foreign service before many of Kitchener’s new army were born”, he had fought against the Dervishes in Egypt and the Boers in Southern Africa.
He had volunteered for the Camel Corps during “the trouble” in the Sudan in 1898 and took part in the charge of the 21st Lancers at Omdurman in which Winston Churchill was involved. Subsequently posted to India he was invalided home but rejoined the army in 1899 on the outbreak of the Boer War where he served with the RIR.
Wounded and invalided home again, “he completed his term of engagement on the Special Reserve”. He lived at Piper Hill, and 4 Hill Street, Lisburn and enlisted for a third time in 1914, even though, “the army had no claim whatever on him … conveniently forgetting the date of his birth”. Serving once again with the RIR, he was posted to the 6th battalion (11244) which was sent to Gallipoli as part of the 10th Division.
On the 3 September 1915, the Standard (a Lisburn paper) reported that, “News [had come] to hand … of [his] death from wounds, at the Dardanelles”. The following week they reported that “mystery surrounds [his] fate or whereabouts” and that, “no confirmation or denial has so far been obtained from the War Office … Should any of his pals see this paragraph, by communicating whatever they know to his brother … they would relieve a great deal of anxiety”.
He was the brother of James Stevenson of 4 Hill Street, Lisburn and had another brother, Andrew, serving with the Rifles. Two other brothers, John and James, worked in Coulsons, a weaving firm in Lisburn.
Note – There is no record in the IMR of a William Stephenson or Stevenson being killed in the Dardanelles. The CWGC and WOCL have two but neither is from the Lisburn area or in the RIR. The obvious conclusion is that he survived. However, another possibility is that he may have been serving under an assumed name because he was over-age when he enlisted.
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