No. 924181, HMS Mechanician, Mercantile Marine Reserve
Killed in action on Sunday 20 January 1918 (aged 32)
No known grave
Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England (Panel 31)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
William Oliver was born on 28 February 1885 in East Street, Newtownards and he was the fourth son of George and Jane Oliver (nee Harrison) who were married on 27 June 1874 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s).
The Oliver family lived at 116 East Street, Newtownards.
George Oliver worked as a weaver, Jane worked as an embroiderer and they had at least fourteen children including:
Eliza (born 23 November 1875 in East Street, Newtownards)
Jane (twin, born 18 March 1877 in East Street, Newtownards)
Lena (twin, born 18 March 1877 in East Street, Newtownards)
George (born 22 May 1879 in East Street, Newtownards)
Hugh (born 21 February 1881 in East Street, Newtownards)
James (born 2 February 1883 in East Street, Newtownards)
William (born 28 February 1885 in East Street, Newtownards)
Lizzie (born 4 June 1887 in East Street, Newtownards)
Catherine (born 19 January 1890 in East Street, Newtownards)
Henry (Harry, born 8 April 1892 in East Street, Newtownards)
Uncaptured name, female (born 30 January 1894 in East Street, Newtownards)
Mary (Minnie, born 12 August 1897 in East Street, Newtownards)
Four of William’s brothers served before and/or during the Great War:
George Oliver was wounded in the South African Campaign and served with a Home Battalion during the Great War.
Hugh Oliver served with the Royal Irish Rifles in India before moving to Canada where he worked in a munitions factory during the Great War.
James Oliver served during the South African Campaign, he went to France in 1914 and was presented with a certificate for bravery under shell fire.
Harry Oliver served with the 1st Leinster Regiment and was seriously wounded. He was recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
During the Great War William Oliver served as a Fireman aboard HMS Mechanician and he died when this ship was torpedoed by a submarine on 20 January 1918 to the west of St Catherine’s Point, the southernmost point on the Isle of Wight.
William Oliver and Agnes Whiteford were married on 18 January 1906 in Trinity Parish Church of Ireland Church Belfast. At the time, William Oliver was a Rifleman stationed at Portobello Barracks in Dublin. Agnes Whiteford, a full-age spinster of 10 Raleigh Street, Belfast was a daughter of James Whiteford, a labourer.
William and Agnes Oliver had at least two children:
Ruth (born 15 August 1910 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards; died of tubercular meningitis 18 July 1913 at 38 Oregon Street, Belfast)
Mary Ann (born 31 December 1912 at 33 Louisa Street, Belfast)
At the time of William’s death Agnes and Mary Ann were living at 41 Linwood Street, Belfast and before that at 18 Byron Street with Agnes’s widowed mother.
Fireman William Oliver’s parents, brothers, sisters, wife and daughter placed a For King and Country notice in the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the line:
Gone but not forgotten
In 1919 his parents, brothers and sisters placed an Our Heroes In Memoriam notice in the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:
Short was his life, our darling son,
But peaceful is his rest;
Mother misses you most of all,
Because she loves you best.
Fireman William Oliver (No. 924181) is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial.