O’Lone, DCM MID, Walter Percy

O’Lone, Walter Percy

Distinguished Conduct Medal

Mentioned in Despatches

Captain

2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Killed in action on Saturday 25 September 1915 (aged 25)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium (Panel 40)

Newtownards and District War Memorial

First Newtownards Presbyterian Church

Spence family headstone in Movilla Cemetery, Newtownards

Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour

Brother of Captain Robert James O’Lone MID

BIOGRAPHY

In some records his surname is spelt O’Loan.

Walter Percy O’Lone was born on 19 May 1890 at 9 Court Street, Belfast and he was a son of Quartermaster-Sergeant John O’Lone who was stationed at Victoria Barracks in Belfast.

John O’Lone was a native of Belfast and he and his wife, Mary O’Lone (nee Spence), lived in Bog Road, Pottinger before they moved to Castleview Road, Knock.

The O’Lone family moved to Victoria Road, Bangor and then to the townland of Loughriscouse between Newtownards and Donaghadee.

John and Mary O’Lone had at least eleven children including:

Henrietta Eleanor (born around 1877/1878 in England)

John Alexander (born around 1879/1880 in England)

Edith Mary (born 9 June 1882 at 18 Hillview Street, Belfast)

Robert James (born 9 August 1884 in Belfast)

Harry Ralph (born 21 June 1886 in Belfast)

Frederick (born 23 April 1888 in Belfast)

Walter Percy (born 19 May 1890 at 9 Court Street, Belfast)

Gertrude Caroline (born 6 June 1893 in County Antrim; married Charles Trotter on 14 January 1920 in First Newtownards Presbyterian Church)

In the letters column of the 6 March 1915 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle there was a tribute to Quartermaster-Sergeant John O’Lone who had re-joined the Royal Irish Rifles in October 1914.  At 73 years of age he was still hale and hearty and ‘felt fit for several more years of service’.

Having first enlisted in 1859, Quartermaster-Sergeant John O’Lone had served for 34 years in the Army and saw service in many places including India, China, Japan, South Africa and Mauritius.  He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.  John O’Lone lived to see two of his soldier sons killed in action in the Great War.  Walter Percy O’Lone was the first of the two O’Lone brothers to die.

Walter Percy O’Lone enlisted on 20 May 1905.  He served as a Rifleman in the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in February 1914.  He was wounded at Aisne in September 1914 and then severely wounded at Ypres in November 1914.  He had a toe amputated and was hospitalised in England.

Described as ‘an exceptionally smart officer’ Walter Percy O’Lone won his commission from the ranks in April 1915.  He was awarded the DCM as a Sergeant (No. 7511) for ‘conspicuous gallantry on numerous occasions under the most difficult circumstances, especially at Illies in France, and also for gallantry in voluntarily conveying most important messages under heavy rifle fire and shell fire on two occasions.’

Captain Walter Percy O’Lone was killed in action during an attack at Hooge on 25 September 1915.  Ground conditions were very muddy and this slowed progress as well as making the advancing soldiers easier targets for enemy gunfire.  Captain Walter O’Lone did reach the German trenches but was killed there.  His brother, Robert James (Bob) O’Lone, survived this action but was killed in action two months later.

At the time of Walter Percy O’Lone’s death his wife Annie was living at Belle Vista, Ballynahinch – they had been married for only six months.  Walter Percy O’Lone and Annie Spence (daughter of Charles Henry Spence) were married on 18 March 1915 in All Saints Parish Church of Ireland Church Belfast.

Annie O’Lone died on 14 July 1945 (aged 49) and she was buried in Movilla Cemetery, Newtownards.

Captain Walter Percy O’Lone is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial; in First Newtownards Presbyterian Church; in the Belfast Book of Honour (Page 514) and on the Spence family headstone in Movilla Cemetery, Newtownards.