No. 18/624, 11th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles attached
108th Trench Mortar Battery, 36th (Ulster) Division
Killed in action on Thursday 22 March 1917 (aged 28)
Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery, Belgium (Grave M. 84)
Comber and District War Memorial
First Comber Presbyterian Church
William Beers was born on 14 March 1889 in Mill Street, Comber and he was baptised in First Comber Presbyterian Church.
William Beers was the eldest son of Robert and Margaret (Maggie) Beers (nee Smiley, sometimes Smylie) who were married on 28 January 1886 in Killinchy Presbyterian Church. Robert Beers from Ballygeegan was a son of Robert Beers, a labourer. Maggie Smiley from Lisbarnett was a daughter of William Smiley, a farmer.
The Beers family lived in Comber, in Killinchy Street, Mill Street and Railway View, Belfast Road.
Robert Beers worked as a labourer and car driver and he and Margaret had six children:
Mary Ann McKee (Minnie, born 25 February 1886 in Killinchy Street, Comber; died of debility 10 March 1886)
Mary Ann (Minnie, born 7 February 1888 in Mill Street, Comber)
William (born 14 March 1889 in Mill Street, Comber)
Robert John (born 27 November 1891 in Mill Street, Comber)
James (born 19 March 1894 in Mill Street, Comber; died of consumption 22 April 1898)
Elizabeth (Eliza, born 28 October 1895)
William Beers was 10 when his mother Maggie died of cardiac asthma on 9 June 1899 (aged 40).
Prior to the Great War William Beers worked as a van driver and he was a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force.
William Beers enlisted in Newtownards, served as a Rifleman with the 11th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles attached to 108th Trench Mortar Battery in the 36th (Ulster) Division and he was 28 when he was killed in action on 22 March 1917.
Rifleman William Beers (No. 18/624) was buried in Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery, Belgium.
After William’s death an officer wrote a letter of sympathy to his father, Robert Beers. In it the officer wrote:
‘Your son was on sentry duty at the time of his death, which was caused by shrapnel, and was instantaneous. I have always found him a keen and willing soldier. He always displayed marked coolness under the most trying circumstances and will be greatly missed by all in the battery.’
Rifleman William Beers (No. 18/624) is commemorated on Comber and District War Memorial and in First Comber Presbyterian Church.