MacDonnagh, William John (William)
8th Battalion, Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment)
Killed in action on Monday 11 September 1916 (aged 35)
No known grave
Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 12 D and 13 B)
Bangor and District War Memorial
Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Comgall’s)
Family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor
William John MacDonnagh was born on 8 July 1881 in The Lodge, Bangor and he was the eldest son of William MacDonnagh (born in County Clare) and Anne MacDonnagh (nee Mulvagh, born in County Sligo) who were married on 18 January 1877 in Skreen Church of Ireland Church, Dromore West, Co Sligo. William MacDonnagh (aged 22), a schoolmaster from Skreen, was a son of Michael MacDonnagh, a farmer. Anne Mulvagh (aged 25), a school mistress from Carrowdurnen, was a daughter of Young Mulvagh, a farmer.
The MacDonnagh family lived in Ruby Lodge, Ruby Street, Bangor.
Both of William John MacDonnagh’s parents were National School Teachers, his father being Principal of the Ward Schools in Bangor.
William and Anne MacDonnagh had seven children:
Susan (born 16 September 1879 in The Lodge, Bangor; died of whooping cough 14 January 1882 aged 2)
William John (born 8 July 1881 in The Lodge, Bangor)
Susan Frances (born 20 February 1883 in The Lodge, Bangor)
Henrietta (Hettie, born 13 October 1884 in The Lodge, Bangor)
Percy (born 1 December 1886 in The Lodge, Bangor; died of croup 8 October 1889 aged 2)
Eva (born 28 September 1888 in The Lodge, Bangor)
Frederick Mears (Fred, born 10 April 1890 in The Lodge, Bangor)
William John, Henrietta, Percy and Frederick were baptised in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Comgall’s).
When William John MacDonnagh left school he worked for a short time in the drapery business before moving to London. Being in business there when war broke out, he joined the Inns of Court Officers’ Training Corps and in April 1915 he received a commission in the Middlesex Regiment. Initially he served as musketry instructor to his Battalion before going to the Front in July 1916. His brother Fred, who lived at 5 Brunel Terrace, Derby Road in Nottingham, was on active service with the transport service.
On 11 September 1916 Second Lieutenant William John MacDonnagh was posted as missing in action and his parents waited anxiously for further news. A little over a month later his parents received official confirmation that William must be presumed to have been killed in action on the afternoon of 11 September 1916.
Second Lieutenant William John MacDonnagh was 35 when he died.
His father William died on 12 August 1919 (aged 65) and his mother Anne died on 29 September 1926.
Second Lieutenant William John MacDonnagh is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France; on Bangor and District War Memorial; in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Comgall’s) and on the family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor.