Dorrian, Thomas

Dorrian, Thomas


No. 17583, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Died of disease on Monday 19 October 1931 (aged 46)


Newtownards and District War Memorial


The name Thomas Dorrian 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.

Army Pensioner Thomas Dorrian died of pneumonia at 86 East Street, Newtownards on 19 October 1931.  His widow, Elizabeth B Dorrian, was with him when he died and the certified cause of death on his death certificate stated ‘pleuro-pneumonia following old gun-shot wound of chest’.

In some records his surname is spelt Dorian, in others Doran and in others Dorean.

Thomas Dorrian was born on 10 September 1885 in Newtownards and he was a son of Thomas and Agnes Jane Dorrian (nee Phillips, sometimes Philips) who were married on 7 February 1882 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s).  Thomas Dorrian, a pensioner from William Street, Newtownards was a son of William John Dorrian, a labourer.  Agnes Phillips from East Street, Newtownards was a daughter of John Phillips, a labourer.

Army Pensioner Thomas Dorrian Senior was the Caretaker in Movilla Cemetery and he and Agnes Jane had at least eleven children:

Robert (born 15 November 1882 in East Street, Newtownards)

William John (born 4 January 1884 in East Street, Newtownards)

Thomas (born 10 September 1885 in East Street, Newtownards)

James (born 8 April 1887 in East Street, Newtownards)

Joseph (born 27 September 1888 in East Street, Newtownards; died of convulsions 4 October 1888 aged 8 days)

Joseph (born 9 December 1889 in East Street, Newtownards)

Mary Belshaw (born 10.00 am 30 October 1891 in East Street, Newtownards)

Annie (born 10.15 am 30 October 1891 in East Street, Newtownards)

Hugh (born 10 April 1893 in East Street, Newtownards)

Alexander (born 17 November 1895 in East Street, Newtownards)

Alfred Edward (born 8 June 1898 in East Street, Newtownards)

The Dorrian family lived in Movilla, Newtownards and before that, in East Street, Newtownards.

Prior to the outbreak of the Great War Thomas Dorrian worked in a mill and before that in the Glen Print Works, Newtownards.

Thomas Dorrian enlisted on 17 September 1914 and went to Clandeboye Camp for training.  In his attestation papers, it was noted that he was 5 feet 10 inches tall with a fair complexion, grey eyes and fair hair.  He had a four-leafed shamrock tattooed on his left wrist.

Thomas Dorrian’s brother, Alexander Dorrian, also enlisted on 17 September 1914 – the same day that Thomas enlisted.  Alexander Dorrian (No. 17581) also went to Clandeboye Camp for training and he was discharged from the Army on 6 November 1914.  It was recorded that Alexander Dorrian was ‘medically unfit for service on account of flat feet, unable to march’.

Rifleman Thomas Dorrian and Jane McKay were married on 4 April 1915 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s).  Jane McKay, a full-age spinster from 74 East Street, Newtownards was a daughter of James McKay, a stonecutter.

Eight days after their wedding, Rifleman Thomas Dorrian was posted to France on 12 April 1915 and he served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.

On 9 May 1915, at Fromelles in France, Rifleman Thomas Dorrian sustained multiple gunshot wounds – ‘bullet wound left side of sternum and over 4th and 5th ribs about four inches long; bullet wound over left iliac crest lodging in spinal muscles; bullet wound over coccyx; bullet wound in sole of right foot passing completely through and fracturing metatarsal bones; small shrapnel wounds in left shoulder and left leg’.

Rifleman Thomas Dorrian was declared to be ‘permanently unfit for further war service’ and he was discharged from the Army on 3 December 1915.  His address on discharge was 21 Windmill Road, Newtownards.

When Thomas Dorrian received His Majesty the King’s Certificate of Honour on 12 June 1918 he was living at 86 East Street, Newtownards.

Thomas Dorrian’s wife, Jane Dorrian, died of breast cancer on 9 September 1923 (aged 41) at 86 East Street, Newtownards.  Thomas was with her when she died.

Thomas Dorrian and Elizabeth Birch Denvir were married on 5 December 1924 in Ardkeen Parish Church of Ireland Church (Christ Church).  Thomas Dorrian of 86 East Street, Newtownards was a widower and ex-soldier and Elizabeth Birch Denvir, a full-age spinster from Ardkeen, was a daughter of Samuel Denvir, a labourer.  Thomas Dorrian’s brother, Alfred Edward Dorrian, was one of the witnesses.

Ex-Rifleman Thomas Dorrian was 46 when he died of pneumonia on 19 October 1931 and he is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial.