Regan, William (No. 19/730)

Regan, William

Rifleman

No. 19/730, 10th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Killed in action on Tuesday 26 June 1917 (aged 19)

Buried:

Derry House Cemetery No. 2, Belgium (Grave I. B. 5)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Newtownards and District War Memorial

Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s)

BIOGRAPHY

The name Regan, W. is listed once on Newtownards and District War Memorial and twice on the War Memorial Plaque in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s).

William Regan was born on 2 February 1898 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards and he was a son of William and Margaret (Maggie) Regan (nee Hanna, sometimes Hannah) who were married on 23 September 1884 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s).

The Regan family lived in Greyabbey and at 21 Wallace’s Street No. 2, Newtownards.

William Regan Senior worked as a tailor and he and Margaret had at least ten children:

Jane (born 13 May 1885 in Greyabbey)

Robert (born 13 June 1887 in Greyabbey)

Maria (born 23 February 1890 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards)

Maggie (born 23 July 1892 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards)

Mary (born 4 July 1893 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards; died of diarrhoea 4 September 1894)

Sarah McDade (born 8 July 1895 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards)

William (born 2 February 1898 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards)

Andrew (born 24 July 1900 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards)

Robina (born 15 March 1904 in Movilla Street, Newtownards; died of nephritis 3 October 1906 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards)

John (born 17 March 1906 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards)

Described in the Newtownards Chronicle as a ‘slip of a youth’ William Regan enlisted in Belfast and trained with the 19th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles before being transferred to the 10th Battalion in 107th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division.

Rifleman Willian Regan was killed by shellfire on 26 June 1917 and his comrades placed a For King and Country notice in the Newtownards Chronicle.  It contained the verse:

No longer must the mourners weep,

Nor call departed Christians dead;

For death is hallowed into sleep,

And every grave becomes a bed.

His widowed father, brothers and sisters placed a notice which contained the verse:

He was a brother truly fond,

A friend both kind and true;

A better brother never lived,

His equals were but few.

He never shunned his country’s call,

But gladly gave his life – his all;

He died, the helpless to defend,

An Ulster soldier’s noble end.

The Rev D.R. Mitchell, Chaplain attached to the 10th Royal Irish Rifles, wrote to William’s father to express his sympathy.  In the letter he explained how William had been killed by shell fire when he was at his post of duty in a trench.  His death had been instantaneous and under cover of darkness his body was recovered and buried the following day with ‘as full military honours as the circumstances would permit.  Because he was held in great esteem the Commanding Officer himself and all the headquarters officers were present at the funeral’.

Rifleman William Regan (No. 19/730) was 19 when he died and he was buried in Derry House Cemetery No. 2, Belgium.

Rifleman William Regan (No. 19/730) is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s).

During the Great War, William’s brother, Private Andrew Regan (No. M305969) served with the Army Service Corps (Mechanical Transport) and was discharged from the Army on 12 February 1920.  Andrew is commemorated on the Roll of Honour of Service in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s).