Kelly, William George (No. 18005)

Kelly, William George (George)


No. 18005, ‘B’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 28)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

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

Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards


In some records, his surname is spelt Kelley.

William George Kelly was born on 18 October 1887 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards and he was the eldest surviving child of John and Mary Ann Kelly (nee Dickson, sometimes Dixon) who were married on 11 July 1885 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark).  John Kelly from Wallace’s Deed, Newtownards was a son of Richard Kelly, a weaver.  Mary Ann Dickson from Canal Row, Newtownards was a daughter of Francis Dickson, a weaver.

The Kelly family lived at 55 Wallace’s Street No. 2, Newtownards.

John Kelly worked as a linen weaver and he and Mary Ann had at least five children:

Richard (born 14 May 1886 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards; died 12 October 1886)

William George (born 1887 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards)

Thomas (born 21 December 1889 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards)

Elizabeth (Lizzie, born 16 June 1893 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards)

Agnes (Aggie, born 6 July 1896 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards)

William George Kelly was baptised in Fourth Newtownards Presbyterian Church.

William George Kelly worked as a wool weaver before the Great War and after he died his looms still stood in the earthen-floored house where he had left them when he went to war.

William George Kelly enlisted in Newtownards and he served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division.  Rifleman William George Kelly was posted as missing in action after the first day of the Battle of the Somme and a year later it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed to have been killed in action.

Rifleman William George Kelly’s father, mother, brother and sisters placed a For King and Country notice in the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:

Although we’re in a far-off land,

And your grave we cannot see;

As long as life and memory last,

We shall remember thee.

An In Memoriam notice the following year contained the text:

And how can man die better?

Rifleman William George Kelly has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France; on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in the PCI Roll of Honour for Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.