Lyons MC, William Thomas

Lyons, William Thomas (William)

Military Cross

Captain

8th Battalion King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)

Killed in action on Tuesday 18 July 1916 (aged 24)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and face 5D and 12B)

Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) War Memorial

Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) Book of Remembrance

St Mark’s Church of Ireland Church Dundela

Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour

Family grave headstone in Belfast City Cemetery

BIOGRAPHY

It is recorded in the Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) Book of Remembrance that Captain William Thomas Lyons MC was born on 11 April 1892 in Holywood.

William Thomas Lyons was born on 11 April 1892 in Sea Park Cottage, Holywood and he was a son of Thomas Henry Lyons and Ruth Lyons (nee Sherrard) who were married on 30 December 1885 in High Street Presbyterian Church Holywood.  Thomas Henry Lyons, a linen merchant and commission agent from Belfast was a son of Thomas Lyons, a farmer.  Ruth Sherrard from Holywood was a daughter of James Sherrard, a farmer.

The Lyons family lived in Church Street, Holywood; in Sea Park Cottage, Holywood and at Valere, Rosetta Park, Belfast.

Thomas Henry and Ruth Lyons had six children, four of whom were born in Holywood:

Frederick Henry (born 12 September 1886 in Church Street, Holywood)

Mary Elizabeth (born 20 March 1888 in Church Street, Holywood)

Ann Hastings (Annie, born 12 January 1890 in Church Street, Holywood)

William Thomas (born 11 April 1892 in Sea Park Cottage, Holywood)

James Sherrard (born 14 February 1894 in Rosetta Avenue, Belfast)

Robert Victor (born 14 November 1896 at 2 Rosetta Gardens, Belfast)

Their father, Thomas Henry Lyons, died of acute pneumonia at Valere, Rosetta Park on 24 February 1906 (aged 49) and was buried in Belfast City Cemetery (Grave N 456).  His daughter Annie was with him when he died.  Their mother, Ruth Lyons, died on 9 September 1945 (aged 88) and was buried in the same grave.

Frederick Henry Lyons died on 22 April 1960 (aged 73) and was buried in the same grave.

William Thomas Lyons was educated at Belfast Municipal Technical Institute in College Square East (known locally as the Black Man Tech).

After leaving school, William Thomas Lyons worked as an apprentice in the linen trade.

William Thomas Lyons joined the Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) Officers’ Training Corps (OTC) on 14 January 1914 and during the Great War he served with the 8th Battalion King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment).  He was 24 when he was killed in action during an assault on Longueval on 18 July 1916.

Captain William Thomas Lyons MC has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France; on the QUB War Memorial; in the QUB Book of Remembrance; in St Mark’s Church of Ireland Church Dundela; in the Belfast Book of Honour (Page 352) and on the family grave headstone in Belfast City Cemetery.

Captain William Thomas Lyons’s brother, Robert Victor Lyons, also attended the Belfast Municipal Technical Institute and became a linen apprentice to Fiddes, Todd, Corry & Co of Adelaide Street, Belfast.

Robert Victor Lyons enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 24 May 1915 (No.1581) and embarked for France with ‘E’ Squadron on 11 January 1916.

From 16 to 26 September 1916 he was allowed special leave to Ireland, following the death of his brother, Captain William Thomas Lyons MC.

Another brother, Captain James Sherrard Lyons MC, also of the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment), was badly wounded in May 1917.

Robert Victor Lyons applied for a commission at the end of 1916 and, on 13 March 1917, was posted to No.19 Officer Cadet Battalion at Pirbright. On 27 June 1917, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and posted to the 17th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles.

Second Lieutenant Robert Victor Lyons served in France with the 14th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, which in February 1918 was disbanded.

Second Lieutenant Robert Victor Lyons was then posted to the 15th Battalion and attached to the 23rd Entrenching Battalion.

Second Lieutenant Robert Victor Lyons was 21 when he was killed in action on 24 March 1918 as his Battalion fought in the withdrawal from the west of Ham during the German Spring Offensive.

Second Lieutenant Robert Victor Lyons has no known grave and is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, Somme (Panel 74); in the Belfast Book of Honour (Page 352) and on the family grave headstone in Belfast City Cemetery.