McIlveen, William Hewitt (No. 18303)

McIlveen, William Hewitt (William)


No. 18303, ‘B’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, then 11th/13th Battalion, then 22nd Entrenching Battalion

Killed in action on Friday 29 March 1918 (aged 22)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Pozieres Memorial, France (Panel 74 to 76)

Comber and District War Memorial

Andrew’s Mill Memorial Plaque

Second Comber Presbyterian Church

 Brother of Rifleman John McIlveen (No. 18302)


William Hewitt McIlveen was born on 23 March 1896 in High Street, Comber and he was a son of Joseph and Ellen Jane McIlveen (nee Crowe) who were married on 29 April 1893 in Gilnahirk Presbyterian Church.  Joseph McIlveen from Comber was a son of Robert McIlveen, a labourer.  Ellen Jane Crowe from Comber was a daughter of Patrick Crowe, a labourer.

The McIlveen family lived at Hillhead, Comber and later in Railway Street, Comber.

Joseph McIlveen worked as a general labourer and he and Ellen had four children:

John (born 7 February 1894 in Mill Street, Comber)

William Hewitt (born 23 March 1896 in High Street, Comber)

James (twin, born 5.00 pm 18 June 1901 in High Street, Comber)

Harriet (twin, born 5.15 pm 18 June 1901 in High Street, Comber)

Baby James McIlveen was ten days old when he died of debility on 28 June 1901 and the following day, 29 June 1901, his mother Ellen died (aged 29).

Joseph McIlveen and Jane Lowry were married on 1 May 1903 in Dundonald Presbyterian Church.  Jane Lowry, a domestic servant from Lisbane, was a daughter of Robert Lowy, a labourer.

Joseph McIlveen worked as a carter and he and Jane had at least four children:

Jane (born 19 September 1905 in Railway Street, Comber)

Robert (born 15 January 1908 in Railway Street, Comber)

Joseph (born 13 September 1910 in Railway Street, Comber)

James (born 25 October 1912 in Railway Street, Comber)

Before the outbreak of war, both John and William McIlveen worked in Andrew’s Mill, Comber.  They enlisted together in Comber and were allocated consecutive service numbers.

Rifleman William Hewitt McIlveen (No. 18303) served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division and he survived the Battle of the Somme.  In November 1917 the 11th and 13th Battalions were amalgamated and when they were disbanded in February 1918 William McIlveen was transferred to the 22nd Entrenching Battalion.  Rifleman William McIlveen was 22 when he was killed in action on 29 March 1918, one day after Rifleman David John McDonnell from Portaferry was killed.

Rifleman William Hewitt McIlveen (No. 18303) has no known grave and he is commemorated on Comber and District War Memorial; on the Andrew’s Mill Memorial Plaque and in Second Comber Presbyterian Church.