McIlwrath, Alexander (No. 18/950)

McIlwrath, Alexander (served as McIlwraith, Alexander)

Rifleman

No. 18/950, 12th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Died of wounds on Monday 13 August 1917 (aged 21)

Buried:

Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium (Grave XVII. F. 12A)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Comber and District War Memorial

Comber Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mary’s)

BIOGRAPHY

In some records his surname is spelt McIlwraith.

Alexander McIlwrath was born on 30 January 1896 in Cherryvalley, Comber and he was a son of James and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Jane McIlwrath (nee Rodgers, sometimes Rogers) who were married on 24 November 1893 in Ballymacarrett Parish Church of Ireland Church Belfast (St Patrick’s).  James McIlwrath (aged 25, born in England) from 15 Belfast Street, Comber was a son of William McIlwrath, a miner.  Elizabeth Rodgers (aged 21) from Railway Street, Comber was a daughter of Robert Rodgers, a labourer.

The McIlwrath family lived in the townland of Cherryvalley, Comber.

James McIlwrath worked as an agricultural labourer, then as a distillery labourer and he and Elizabeth had at least three children:

Isabella (Bella, born 8 June 1894 in Crescent, Comber)

Alexander (born 30 January 1896 in Cherryvalley, Comber)

James Corbett (born 11 February 1897 in Cherryvalley, Comber)

Prior to the outbreak of the Great War Alexander McIlwrath worked as an apprentice shoemaker and he lived in Comber.  In November 1915 he enlisted in Newtownards and joined the 18th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.  Rifleman Alexander McIlwrath was posted to the 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division and he died of wounds on 13 August 1917 when his Battalion was holding the line during the Third Battle of Ypres.

Rifleman Alexander McIlwrath (No. 18/950) was 21 when he died and he was buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.

Rifleman Alexander McIlwrath (No. 18/950) is commemorated on Comber and District War Memorial and in Comber Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mary’s).