Strain, William R.
Royal Irish Rifles
Newtownards and District War Memorial
The name William R. Strain is listed on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in the booklet produced for the Unveiling and Dedication Ceremony held on Saturday 26 May 1934 he is described as a Rifleman in the Royal Irish Rifles. The organising committee of the day decided to include the names of ex-servicemen who died up to that date from what they considered to be war related causes, whether as a result of wounds or disease.
In the 1901 census returns a William R. Strain (aged 18) was working as a farm servant for farmer Samuel Gaw and his wife Annie in Balloo, Bangor. He was unmarried.
In the 1911 census a William Robert Strain (aged 27) was working as a farm servant for farmer John Samuel Kelly in Little Francis Street, Newtownards. It is recorded that this William Robert Strain was born in Donaghadee, he was two years married and had no children.
A William Robert Strain (full age) from South Street, Newtownards married Annie Gilliland (full age) from South Street, Newtownards on 13 January 1909 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s). William Robert Strain was a son of William Strain, a labourer. Annie Gilliland was a daughter of John Gilliland, a weaver.
In the 1911 census Annie Gilliland (aged 25) was living in South Street, Newtownards with her parents John and Margaret Gilliland. It is recorded that Annie was two years married and had no children.
A William Robert Strain was born on 12 May 1882 in Herdstown, Donaghadee and he was a son of William and Agnes Strain (nee Fowles) who were married on 22 April 1880 in Newtownards Registrar’s Office. William Strain from Ballyfotherley was a son of William Strain, a labourer. Agnes Fowles from Herdstown was a daughter of William Fowles, a labourer.
A William R. Strain served as a Rifleman (No. 6769) with the Royal Irish Rifles and he went to France on 30 April 1915. He was discharged to the Class Z Reserve.
In the burial records for Movilla Cemetery, a William Robert Strain, a labourer from Newtownards, who died of bronchitis, was buried on 18 August 1930. It is recorded on his death certificate that he died of chronic myocarditis in Newtownards Hospital on 17 August 1930; he was 48 years old, a labourer, married and had lived at 113 East Street, Newtownards.
A William R. Strain is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial. Desk searches and public appeals to date have not linked all these data conclusively.