McCluskey, William James (No. 19096)

McCluskey, William James (William)


No. 19096, ‘A’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Died of disease on Sunday 18 April 1915 (aged 20)


Ballymanish Presbyterian Cemetery, Portaferry, Co Down


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Portaferry Presbyterian Church

Portaferry Orange Hall (LOL 673)


In some records his surname is spelt McClusky and in others McCloskey.

William James McCluskey was born on 15 March 1895 in the townland of Dooey, Portaferry and he was a son of James and Ellen McCluskey (nee McCormick, sometimes McCormac) who were married on 19 August 1884 in Portaferry Presbyterian Church.  Janes McCluskey from Kearney was a son of Patrick Quinn, a farmer.  Ellen McCormick from Kearney was a daughter of Thomas McCormick, a labourer.

The McCluskey family lived in the townlands of Newcastle; Dooey; Kearney and Ballycam, Quintin, Portaferry.

James McCluskey worked as an agricultural labourer and he and Ellen had nine children:

Cynthia (born 7 April 1886 in Newcastle, Portaferry)

Samuel (born 24 March 1888 in Newcastle, Portaferry)

Ellen (born 17 April 1890 in Newcastle, Portaferry; died of bronchitis 26 April 1890 aged nine days)

Jane Ellen (born 4 June 1892 in Newcastle, Portaferry)

William James (born 15 March 1895 in Dooey, Portaferry)

Hugh (born 6 September 1897 in Newcastle, Portaferry)

Thomas John (born 17 August 1901 in Kearney, Portaferry; died of diphtheria in Down Union Hospital 9 June 1910)

Margaret (born 2 April 1904 in Dooey, Portaferry; died of diphtheria in Kearney 4 June 1910)

Minnie (born 26 December 1907 in Kearney, Portaferry)

William James McCluskey enlisted in Ballywalter shortly after the outbreak of the Great War and he was sent to Clandeboye Training Camp.  On the day before he was due to go to the Front with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles he contracted a cold.  Complications arose and he was taken home to Portaferry where he was attended by members of the Portaferry Branch of the Medical Nursing Staff.

Rifleman McCluskey was 20 when he died of pneumonia at home in Ballycam on Sunday 18 April 1915 and his funeral took place the following Tuesday.  Wreaths were sent by his comrades in Clandeboye Camp, his comrades in the Portaferry contingent of the Ulster Volunteer Force, members of LOL No. 673 and the nurses who attended him during his illness.  His nurses added a message:

We nursed him with our tenderest care,

Until the Master came

And took him to that land of bliss,

Where he is free from pain.

There was a regimental band and firing party at his funeral and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone in Ballymanish Presbyterian Graveyard:


Rifleman William James McCluskey’s brother Hugh also served in the Great War and he survived.

William James McCluskey (No. 19096) is commemorated in Portaferry Presbyterian Church and in Portaferry Orange Hall (LOL 673).