Company Sergeant Major
No. 19223, ‘D’ Company 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 51)
Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, France (Grave VIII. K. 5)
Newry Book of Honour: Newry’s War Dead
Under the headline Portaferry, Company Sergeant Major William Taylor’s name was listed in the 2 September 1916 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle as having been killed in action. This was to correct an earlier erroneous report that Company Sergeant Major William Torney from Portaferry had been killed in action.
The error seems to have occurred because of the similarity in their service numbers.
William Torney was a son of Mary Torney who lived in Meetinghouse Lane, Portaferry and he served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (No. 19233) before being transferred to the Northumberland Fusiliers (No. 52290).
Company Sergeant Major William Torney was discharged from the Army in 1919.
Desk studies and public appeals to date have not produced any evidence that Company Sergeant Major William Taylor (No. 19223) had any connection with Portaferry and his inclusion on this website is for interest only.
William Taylor was born in Newry and, prior to the outbreak of the Great War, he worked as a general labourer.
William Taylor and Bridget Ferrigan were married on 23 October 1895 in Newry Parish Church of Ireland Church. William Taylor (aged 30) from Postley Place, Newry was a son of John Taylor, a labourer. Bridget Ferrigan (aged 26) from Cowan Street, Newry was a daughter of John Ferrigan, a carpenter.
William and Bridget Taylor (nee Ferrigan) lived in James Street, Newry and they had five children:
John (Johnny, born 31 October 1895 at 24 Cowan Street, Newry)
Mary Anne (born 13 September 1897 at 24 Cowan Street, Newry)
Annie (born 3 September 1900 at 24 Cowan Street, Newry)
William (born 5 October 1903 at 24 Cowan Street, Newry)
George (born 13 August 1905 at 24 Cowan Street, Newry)
William Taylor had previous service in the South African War, he enlisted in Newry, served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division and was in his fifties when he was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
Company Sergeant Major William Taylor’s son Johnny served with the 10th Company Machine Gun Corps (No. 16495) and was killed in action on Thursday 4 October 1917 (aged 21). Johnny’s name is listed on the Tyne Cot Memorial Belgium (Panel 154 to 159 and 163A).
David Martin, who served as a Private in the Royal Irish Fusiliers (No. 7636) and who was a brother-in-law of William Taylor’s brother George, was executed by the Germans on Saturday 27 May 1916.
In 1914 David Martin with three other soldiers became separated from their unit and they were hidden by the villagers of Le Catelet in France. In May 1916 their hiding place was discovered and, because they were in civilian clothes, they were considered to be spies. They were executed by firing squad and buried in Le Catelet Churchyard. David Martin is commemorated in the Belfast Book of Honour (Page 368) and in Newry’s War Dead (Pages 63 and 136).
Company Sergeant Major William Taylor is commemorated in Newry’s War Dead (Pages 82 and 136).