No. 841683, 24th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment)
Killed in action on Wednesday 10 January 1917 (aged 29)
Tranchee de Mecknes Cemetery, France (Grave L. 6)
Canadian Virtual War Memorial (CVWM)
Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance
Newtownards and District War Memorial
Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s)
Private William Martin (No. 841683) served with the 24th Battalion Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment) and he was killed in action on Wednesday 10 January 1917.
At attestation, William Martin declared that he was born on 17 March 1887 in Newtownards and that he was unmarried. He was, in fact, born on 7 March 1887 in Conlig and he was married when he enlisted.
William Martin was a son of Robert and Sarah Martin (nee Baillie, sometimes Bailey) who were married on 3 June 1870 in Glasgow, after Banns according to the forms of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. Robert Martin (aged 22) was a son of John and Jane Martin (nee Brown). Sarah Baillie (aged 21) was a daughter of Robert and Mary Jane Baillie (nee McKie).
Robert Martin (a labourer) and Sarah Martin (nee Baillie, sometimes Bailey) had at least five children:
John (born around 1875/1876 – from 1911 census or 1879/1880 – from 1901 census)
Elizabeth (Lizzie, born 12 March 1878 in Ballywhisken)
Sarah (born 22 March 1884 in Conlig)
William (born 7 March 1887 in Conlig)
James (born 14 October 1889 in Conlig)
In 1901, Sarah Martin (aged 52), her son John (aged 22), her son James (aged 11) and her granddaughter Jane (aged 4) were living in Conlig. Jane Martin, born on 27 August 1896 in Conlig, was a daughter of Elizabeth Martin, an unmarried housemaid.
William Martin moved to Scotland where he lived in Bridgend Lane, Kilwinning and worked in a dynamite factory.
Sarah Jane Martin, widow of a van driver died of apoplexy on 3 August 1907 (aged 57) in Mill Street, Newtownards.
After Banns according to the forms of the Church of Scotland, William Martin and Margaret (Maggie) Jane Watson were married on 12 August 1910 at the bride’s home, 108 Main Street, Kilwinning, Ayrshire. William Martin (aged 23), a dynamite worker, was a son of Robert Martin and Sarah Martin (nee Bailie), both deceased. Margaret Jane Watson (aged 20), a dynamite worker, was a daughter of John and Sarah Watson (nee Kidd). John Watson and Sarah Kidd were married on 15 December 1874 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s) and they had at least five children:
Unnamed male (born 27 March 1876 in Little Francis Street, Newtownards)
Thomas (born 20 June 1884 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards)
Sarah (born 22 April 1888 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards; married William J. McCullough on 25 December 1900 in Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church)
Margaret Jane (born 23 November 1889 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards)
Andrew (born 25 June 1892 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards)
In 1911 William Martin and his brothers John and James were boarding at 113 Main Street, Kilwinning with David McNeilly (a railway labourer), David’s wife Lizzie, their stepdaughter Jane and their son William.
William Martin moved from Scotland to Canada where he worked as an ‘ammunition worker and driver’. When he enlisted in Montreal on 4 March 1916, he was living at 221 Colborne Street. He declared that he was unmarried, and he cited as his next-of-kin his sister, Elizabeth R. McNeely (sometimes McNeilly) who lived at 12 Main Street, Stevenston, Ayr in Scotland.
Lizzie Martin and David McNeilly were married on 25 August 1899 in Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church. Lizzie Martin from Conlig was a daughter of Robert Martin, a labourer. David McNeilly from Ballygrot was a son of David McNeilly, a labourer.
It was noted in William Martin’s attestation papers that he was 5 feet 7 inches tall with a dark complexion, blue eyes and brown hair and that he had extensive scarring from burns on both of his arms and all over his back.
He had a tattoo on his left arm in the form of a girl’s head and the words Love Maggie.
He joined the 148th Battalion and, after six months training in Canada, Private William Martin (No. 841683) sailed from Halifax on 26 September 1916 aboard the SS Laconia. He arrived in England on 6 October 1916 and, when he went to France on 12 December 1916, he was transferred to the 24th Battalion. He was in the 148th Battalion when he made his will on 25 November 1916 and, in his will, he left all of his property and effects to his sister, Mrs David McNeilly, 12 Main Street, Stevenston, Ayrshire, Scotland.
After Private William Martin (No. 841683) was killed in action on 10 January 1917 his widow Maggie placed a For King and Country notice in the Newtownards Chronicle. It contained the verse:
Little I thought when we said good-bye,
It should be the last parting between you and I;
I loved you in life, you are dear to me still,
But in grief we must bend to God’s holy will.
In January 1918 Maggie placed an Our Heroes – In Memoriam notice in the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:
Safe from the world’s alluring harms,
Beneath His watchful eye;
Thus in the circle of His arms
May he for ever lie.
In 1917 and 1918 Maggie Martin was living at 129 Mill Street, Newtownards.
In 1919 Maggie Martin moved to Canada where she worked as a domestic servant and obtained her Canadian citizenship. Maggie Martin’s addresses in Canada were 52 Appleton Avenue, Toronto and 32 Ashburnham Road, Toronto.
There is a passenger record showing that Margaret Martin, a widow, after a visit to Newtownards, returned by ship to her domestic employment in Canada on 12 January 1924.
Private William Martin (No. 841683) was buried in Tranchee de Mecknes Cemetery, France and he is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s).