McAvoy, Edward Ferguson McCalpin (No. 18125)

McAvoy, Edward Ferguson McCalpin (Edward)


No. 18125, ‘B’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Died of wounds on Wednesday 12 July 1916 (aged 27)


Etaples Military Cemetery, France (Grave II. B. 81A)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Newtownards and District War Memorial

Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Roll of Honour 1914 – 1919 for

Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards

Brother of Rifleman John Magilton McAvoy (No. 18183)

Cousin of Private George Turner McAlpine (No. 2528)


Edward Ferguson McCalpin McAvoy was born on 10 August 1888 in Mill Street, Newtownards and he was a son of Daniel and Ellen Jane McAvoy (nee McAlpine, sometimes McAlpin, sometimes McCalpin) who were married on 31 October 1877 in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.  Daniel McAvoy from Cunningburn was a son of John McAvoy, a labourer.  Ellen Jane McAlpine (a minor) from Ballyrea was a daughter of William McAlpine, a weaver.

The McAvoy family lived in the townlands of Ballywatticock and Ballyrea and at 140 Mill Street, Newtownards.

Daniel McAvoy worked as a general labourer and flax scutcher and he and Ellen Jane had eight children:

Edward Ferguson (born prematurely 28 February 1881 in Ballywatticock; died of debility 27 March 1881 in Ballyrea)

William (born 9 June 1882 in Ballyrea)

Margaret (Maggie, born 19 November 1883 in Ballyrea)

Agnes Eliza (Lizzie, born 5 June 1886)

Edward Ferguson McCalpin (born 10 August 1888 in Mill Street, Newtownards)

Eleanor (Ellen, born 24 July 1891 in Mill Street, Newtownards)

Anna Isabella (born 17 February 1894 in Mill Street, Newtownards)

John Magilton (born 8 March 1897 in Mill Street, Newtownards)

The McAvoy children were all baptised in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.

Prior to the outbreak of the Great War, Edward Ferguson McCalpin McAvoy worked as a garden labourer.

Edward McAvoy and Jane (Jean) Dorrian were married on 22 February 1912 in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.  Edward McAvoy from Mill Street, Newtownards was a son of Daniel McAvoy.  Jane Dorrian, a factory worker from Talbot Street, Newtownards was a daughter of William John Dorrian, a labourer.

Edward and Jane McAvoy (nee Dorrian) had two children:

Mary Margaret (born 19 June 1912 in Talbot Street, Newtownards; at that time Edward’s address was Furragat Street, Pittsburg, USA)

Eleanor Maud (born 8 February 1916 in Talbot Street, Newtownards; at that time Edward was on active service)

Both children were baptised in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.

Edward McAvoy enlisted in Newtownards, he served with the 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (1st County Down Volunteers) in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division and he went to France in October 1915.

Rifleman Edward McAvoy suffered gunshot wounds to the chest on 3 July 1916 and his wounds were so severe that he died nine days later on 12 July 1916 in 26 General Hospital Etaples.  His younger daughter, Eleanor Maud, was just five months old when he died.

Edward’s wife Jane and their two daughters lived at 4 Talbot Street Newtownards with Jane’s parents, William John and Ellen Dorrian.  Edward’s parents and his sister and brother-in-law Lizzie and James Cargo placed separate For King and Country notices in the 22 July 1916 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and the one from his parents contained the verse:

He is gone, oh! how hard, not a friend to be near

To hear his last word or to see his last tear;

No parting, no farewell, no kind words of love

To cheer his last moments or point him above.

Dear is the spot where our loved one is laid

Dear is the memory that never shall fade,

Fond is the hope that again we shall meet,

All kneeling together at Jesus’ feet.

The one from Lizzie and James Cargo contained the verse:

Although we’re in a far-off land,

And your grave we cannot see;

As long as life and memory lasts

We shall remember thee

In the years that followed they placed Our Heroes – In Memoriam notices and the one from Lizzie and James in 1917 contained the verse:

How a sister’s heart is aching

For a brother she loved well;

He gave his all for his country,

In honour’s cause he fell.

The one from his parents, brothers and sisters contained the verse:

He little thought when leaving home

That he would never return;

But now he lies in a lonely grave,

And we are left to mourn.

His cheery ways, his smiling face

Are a pleasure to recall;

He had a kindly word for each,

And died beloved by all.

He was a brother truly fond,

A friend both kind and true;

A better brother never lived,

His equals were but few.

John McAvoy was the first of the two brothers to die, 11 days before Edward died, but Edward’s death was the first to be officially confirmed.

Three Newtownards families related by marriage suffered bereavement during the first two weeks of the Battle of the Somme when four men who are being commemorated on this website died:

Three women living at 4 Talbot Street in 1916 were widowed – James Dorrian’s wife Jane (nee Oliver), Robert McCartney’s wife Susanna (nee Dorrian) and Edward McAvoy’s wife Jane (nee Dorrian).