Gibson, William James (No. 17702)

Gibson, William James


No. 17702, ‘B’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Killed in action on Monday 6 August 1917 (aged 24)


Potijze Chateau Grounds Cemetery, Belgium (Grave II. E. 23)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Newtownards and District War Memorial

Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Roll of Honour 1914 – 1919 for

Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards


William James Gibson was born on 1 November 1892 in Lower Mary Street, Newtownards and he was a son of Samuel James and Margaret (Maggie) Gibson (nee Cameron) who were married on 6 October 1888 in Ballyblack Presbyterian Church. Samuel James Gibson from Newtownards was a labourer and he was a son of James Gibson, a shoemaker.  Maggie Cameron from Ballyblack was a daughter of William Cameron, a labourer.

Samuel James Gibson worked as a carter and labourer and he and Margaret had five children:

Annabella (born 18 July 1889 in Ballyblack)

Samuel (born 17 September 1890 in Church Lane, Newtownards)

William James (born 1 November 1892 in Lower Mary Street, Newtownards)

Susanna (born 2 December 1894 in Movilla Street, Newtownards)

Margaret (born 18 January 1897 in Movilla Street, Newtownards)

Their mother Maggie died of influenza on 1 May 1898 (aged 33) in Movilla Street, Newtownards.  Their widowed father, Samuel James Gibson, lived at 166 Greenwell Street, Newtownards.

William James Gibson enlisted in Newtownards, he served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (1st County Down Volunteers) in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division and he was killed in action on 6 August 1917 while holding the line at the beginning of the Third Battle of Ypres.

After Rifleman William James Gibson died, his platoon officer Second-Lieutenant R W Craig wrote to Samuel Gibson to express sympathy and to assure him that his son’s death had been instantaneous.  On behalf of the whole family Samuel Gibson placed a For King and Country notice in the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:

A light is from our household gone,

The voice we loved now stilled;

A place is vacant in our home

Which never will be filled.

Gone, but not forgotten

William James Gibson’s older brother Samuel was also on active service.

Rifleman William James Gibson was 24 when he died and he was buried in Potijze Chateau Grounds Cemetery, Belgium.  There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:


Rifleman William James Gibson is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in the PCI Roll of Honour for Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.