Conway, William John
No. S/6003, 7th Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)
Killed in action on Tuesday 26 March 1918 (aged 22)
No known grave
Arras Memorial, France (Bay 6)
Family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road
In some records the surname is spelt Connaway and in others Connery.
William John Conway was born on 1 October 1895 at 10 St Leonard Street, Belfast and he was a son of Robert and Margaret Jane (Maggie) Conway (nee Moore) who were married on 9 February 1892 in Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church. Robert Conway from Conlig was the eldest son of Wm. J. Conway, a labourer. Maggie Moore (aged 19) from Conlig was a daughter of Thomas Spencer Moore.
Robert Conway worked as the ‘driver of a post car’; a time keeper and as a railway guard. In 1911 he was working as a labourer in Nobel’s explosives factory at Ardeer in Scotland.
The Conway family lived in Conlig and at 34 Well Street, Belfast before moving to Scotland (sometime between 1904 and 1908) where they lived at 13 Townhead Street, Stevenston, Ayrshire. There is evidence that some of the Conway family moved back later to Conlig.
Robert and Maggie Conway had at least eight children:
Margaret Jane (born 12 December 1892 in Castle Street, Bangor)
William John (born 1 October 1895 at 10 St Leonard Street, Belfast)
Anna (born around 1896/1897)
Thomas (born around 1898/1899)
Robert Henry (born around 1902/1903)
Martha (Meta, born around 1904/1905)
Hugh (born 9 March 1908 in Scotland, baptised in Conlig Presbyterian Church)
Thomas Russell (born 5 December 1910 in Scotland, baptised in Conlig Presbyterian Church)
In the 1911 census it is recorded that William John Conway (then aged 15) was working as a cattle boy for John Micah Matthews on Girthill Farm, Ardrossan and in the census he declared his place of birth to be Conlig. Before enlisting he was employed by J. Morrison & Sons, Stevenston (Bread and Pastry Manufacturers) where he was serving his time as a baker.
William John Conway joined the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) and went to France on 20 September 1915. Corporal William John Conway (No. S/6003) served with the 7th Battalion Black Watch and he was 22 when he was killed in action on 26 March 1918 during the German Spring Offensive. In the 17 May 1918 edition of the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald it was reported that Corporal William John Conway (No. S/6003) was missing in action and later it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed to have been killed.
Corporal William John Conway (No. S/6003) has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Arras Memorial in France and on the Conway family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor (where his date of death is inscribed as 21 March 1918). Also commemorated thereon are his grandfather William John Conway who died at Conlig on 15 May 1919 (aged 76); his grandmother Agnes Jane Conway who died at Conlig on 4 January 1922 (aged 70) and his blind uncle, Hugh Conway, who died at Conlig on 25 September 1918 (aged 43).
Corporal William John Conway’s paternal grandparents, William John Conway (born in Donaghadee) and Agnes Jane McCracken (born in Bangor), were married on 12 May 1871 in Trinity Presbyterian Church Bangor and they had eleven children:
Robert (born 19 April 1872)
John (born 20 August 1873)
Hugh (born 3 March 1875; died 25 September 1918 at Conlig)
Alexander (Sandy, born 5 March 1877)
William (born 19 June 1879)
Margaret E. (Maggie, born 11 June 1881)
Charles Watson (born 5 January 1885)
George Herbert Ewart (born 27 November 1886)
Mary Agnes (Minnie, born 4 September 1889)
James (born 26 February 1893)
Frederick (born 12 August 1896)