No. 17/1039, 8th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Died of wounds on Sunday 11 June 1916 (aged 18)
Authuile Military Cemetery, France (Grave D. 8)
Donaghadee and District War Memorial
Shore Street Presbyterian Church Donaghadee
Family grave headstone in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Graveyard
William Tanner was born on 7 December 1897 in the townland of Carryreagh and he was the only son of Samuel and Jane Tanner (nee Bell) who were married on 18 February 1897 in Ballycopeland Presbyterian Church. Samuel Tanner from Donaghadee was a son of William Tanner, a baker. Jane Bell from Carryreagh was a daughter of William Bell, a labourer.
Samuel Tanner was a carpenter and he and Jane had three children:
William (born 7 December 1897 in Carryreagh)
Hannah (born 22 January 1900 in Carryreagh)
Agnes (born 11 October 1903 in Moat Avenue, Donaghadee)
William and Agnes were both baptised in Shore Street Presbyterian Church Donaghadee.
In 1901 the Tanner family lived in Carryreagh; then in Moat Avenue, Donaghadee and then at 10 Castle Street, Donaghadee.
William Tanner enlisted in Belfast and went to France on 25 November 1915. He served with the 8th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 107th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division and he was 18 when he died of wounds on 11 June 1916.
Rifleman William Tanner was buried in Authuile Military Cemetery.
After he died it was reported in the press that Rifleman William Tanner was ‘the first Donaghadee soldier of the Ulster Division to make the supreme sacrifice’.
In a letter to William’s mother, William’s commanding officer told her that ‘William’s last thoughts as he lay dying were of his mother’.
Rifleman William Tanner is commemorated on Donaghadee and District War Memorial; in Shore Street Presbyterian Church Donaghadee and on the family grave headstone in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Graveyard.
William’s father Samuel died on 26 July 1943 (aged 79) and his mother Jane died on 13 November 1949 (aged 79).