Strain, William Robert

Strain, William Robert


No. 3/6769 Royal Irish Rifles

Died of disease Sunday 17 August 1930 (aged 48) 


Newtownards (Movilla) Cemetery (Grave 2. 8¾)


Newtownards and District War Memorial


The name William R. Strain is listed on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in the booklet produced for the Unveiling and Dedication Ceremony held on Saturday 26 May 1934 he is described as a Rifleman in the Royal Irish Rifles.  The organising committee of the day decided to include the names of ex-servicemen who died up to that date from what they considered to be war related causes, whether as the result of wounds or disease.

William Robert Strain was born on 12 May 1882 in the townland of Herdstown, Donaghadee and he was a son of William and Agnes Strain (nee Fowles) who were married on 22 April 1880 in Newtownards Registrar’s Office.  William Strain from Ballyfotherley was a son of William Strain, a labourer.  Agnes Fowles from Herdstown was a daughter of William Fowles, a labourer.

William and Agnes Strain (nee Fowles) had at least four children:

William Robert (born 12 May 1882 at Herdstown)

James Andrew (born 25 August 1883 at Herdstown)

Lizzie Frances (born 26 July 1885 at Herdstown)

Ellen Jane (born 28 October 1886 at Herdstown)

William Robert Strain was five when his father died of pneumonia at Ballyhay on 15 December 1887 (aged 36).

In the 1901 census returns William Robert Strain (aged 18) was working as a farm servant for farmer Samuel Gaw and his wife Annie J. Gaw in Balloo, Bangor.  He was unmarried.

In the 1911 census William Robert Strain (aged 27) was working as a farm servant for farmer John Samuel Kelly in Little Francis Street, Newtownards.  It is recorded that this William Robert Strain was born in Donaghadee, he was two years married and had no children.

William Robert Strain, a full age bachelor from South Street, Newtownards married Annie Gilliland, a full age spinster from South Street, Newtownards on 13 January 1909 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s).  William Robert Strain, a labourer, was a son of William Strain, a labourer.  Annie Gilliland was a daughter of John Gilliland, a weaver.

In the 1911 census, using her maiden name, Annie Gilliland (aged 25) was living in South Street, Newtownards with her parents John and Margaret Gilliland, and her siblings Agnes, William, John, and Margaret.  It is recorded that Annie was two years married and had no children.  Interestingly, in the same census return there is a female child named Agnes Gilliland, one year old, described as a niece of John and Margaret Gilliland.  In civil birth registration records this child is named as Agnes Strean, born on 10 February 1910 at Pound Street, Newtownards, the daughter of William Robert Strean and Annie Strean (nee Gilliland).

William Robert Strain served as a Rifleman (No. 3/6769) with the Royal Irish Rifles, and he went to France on 30 April 1915.  He also served as a Private (No. 6842041) with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps.  At that time his address was 45 South Street, Newtownards.  He was discharged to the Class Z Reserve on 6 March 1919.

In the burial records for Movilla Cemetery, William Robert Strain, a labourer from Newtownards, who died from bronchitis, was buried on 18 August 1930.  It is recorded on his death certificate that he died from chronic myocarditis in Newtownards Hospital on 17 August 1930 (aged 48).  Late of 113 East Street, Newtownards, he was a married labourer.

William Robert Strain is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial.