Gilliland, Thomas McDade (Thomas)
No. 18/171, ‘A’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 19)
No known grave
Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Roll of Honour 1914 – 1919 for
Regent Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards
In some records his surname is spelt Gillyland and in others Gilleyland.
Thomas Gilliland was born on 7 September 1897 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards and he was a son of William and Eliza Gilliland (nee McKee) who were married on 6 July 1876 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s). William Gilliland, a weaver from Shuttlefield, Newtownards was a son of William Gilliland, a gas fitter. Eliza McKee from Movilla Street, Newtownards was a daughter of John McKee, a labourer.
William and Eliza Gilliland (nee McKee) had at least nine children:
Unnamed male child (born 30 January 1878 in Thomas’s Street, Newtownards; died 17 March 1878)
William John (born 25 April 1879 in Movilla Street, Newtownards; died 15 March 1883)
Margaret Jane (born 11 November 1881 in Movilla Street, Newtownards)
John (born 17 September 1884 in Movilla Street, Newtownards)
Isabella (born 21 January 1887 in Movilla Street, Newtownards)
William (born 21 July 1889 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards)
Thomas (born 7 November 1891 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards; died)
Hannah McMorran (born 18 August 1894 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards)
Thomas (born 7 September 1897 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards)
Some of the children were baptised in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.
Thomas Gilliland was three when his father William died of bowel cancer on 23 February 1901 (aged 48) in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards.
His widowed mother Eliza Gilliland (nee McKee) worked as a seamstress and the family lived at 18 Wallace’s Street No. 2, Newtownards.
Thomas Gilliland enlisted in June 1915 in Belfast and he trained with the 18th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles before going to the Front with the 13th Battalion in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division.
Rifleman Thomas Gilliland was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Initially it was reported that he was missing and wounded, then it was reported that he was a Prisoner-of-War and finally it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed to have been killed.
Rifleman Thomas Gilliland (No. 18/171) was 19 when he died and he has no known grave.
Rifleman Thomas Gilliland (No. 18/171) is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France; on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in the PCI Roll of Honour for Regent Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.