No. 20/85, 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Saturday 13 April 1918 (aged 23)
Wulverghem-Lindenhoek Road Military Cemetery, Belgium (Grave IV. B. 16)
Holywood and District War Memorial
Holywood Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Philip & St James)
Glencraig Parish Church of Ireland Church (Holy Trinity)
Portora Royal School Enniskillen
North of Ireland Cricket Club Memorial Plaque
Brother of Second Lieutenant Kenneth Ross
Brother of Second Lieutenant Melbourne Ross
Wason Ross was born on 4 July 1894 in Cultra and he was a son of George Harrison Ross and Henrietta Matilda Ross (nee Russ) who were married in 1881 in London. George Harrison Ross was an aerated water manufacturer.
Brewing and glass-making feature prominently in the history of the Ross family. Wason’s grandfather, William Adolphus Ross, founded the W A Ross & Co Royal Belfast Ginger Ale and Aerated Water Manufacturing Works in 1879.
In 1885 William Adolphus Ross bought a property in Craigavad and the Ross family worshipped in Glencraig Parish Church of Ireland Church (Holy Trinity) and in Holywood Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Philip & St James).
George Harrison Ross, who was born in Belfast in 1845, was a son of William Adolphus Ross. At the age of 16 George Harrison Ross went to sea and sailed to many parts of the world over a period of 17 years before joining the family mineral water business.
George Harrison Ross and Henrietta Matilda Ross (nee Russ) lived in Clandeboye, Helen’s Bay and Cultra and they had nine children:
Eileen Kate (born 27 May 1882 in Clandeboye)
Conway Andrew (born 17 October 1883 in Clandeboye)
Melbourne (born 30 January 1885 in Clandeboye)
Harrison (born 5 May 1886 in Helen’s Bay, Ballygrot)
Stanley Solari (born 10 April 1888 in Helen’s Bay)
Kenneth (born 1 September 1890 in Cultra)
Lorna (born 6 November 1892 in Cultra)
Wason (born 4 July 1894 in Cultra)
Joan (born 29 June 1896 in Cultra)
Eight of the children were baptised in Glencraig Parish Church of Ireland Church:
Four of their six sons were on active service in the Great War – Melbourne, Harrison, Kenneth and Wason. Their daughter Lorna served as a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurse in Malta and Salonika and, during the Second World War, she served in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). The Voluntary Aid Detachment was an organisation formed when the British Red Cross Society linked up with the Order of St John of Jerusalem.
George Harrison Ross died on 30 September 1917 (aged 72) knowing that two of his sons, Melbourne and Kenneth, had been killed in action. Rifleman Wason Ross was killed in action some seven months after his father died. Lieutenant Harrison Ross was wounded twice during the Great War, survived and was on active service again during the Second World War. Henrietta Matilda Ross died on 6 May 1928 (aged 73).
Wason Ross joined the Royal Irish Rifles and went to France in May 1917. Initially in the 8th Service Battalion, Rifleman Wason Ross was transferred to the 15th Battalion and then to the 2nd Battalion.
Rifleman Wason Ross was wounded in the fighting at Cambrai in November 1917 and he was 23 when he was killed in action on Saturday 13 April 1918 at Wulverghem. He was buried in Wulverghem-Lindenhoek Road Military Cemetery, Belgium and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:
BE THOU FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH
AND I WILL GIVE THEE A CROWN OF LIFE
REV. 2. 10
Rifleman Wason Ross was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Rifleman Wason Ross is commemorated on Holywood and District War Memorial; in Holywood Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Philip & St James); in Glencraig Parish Church of Ireland Church (Holy Trinity); in Portora Royal School Enniskillen and on the North of Ireland Cricket Club Memorial Plaque.