Taylor, William Robert (No. 17033)

Taylor, William Robert (Robert)


No. 17033, ‘A’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 21)


Serre Road Cemetery No. 2, France (Grave XIII. A. 1)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Donaghadee and District War Memorial


Rifleman William Robert Taylor (No. 17033) was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.  Initially he was posted as missing in action and in June 1917 it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed to have been killed in action.

Rifleman William Robert Taylor’s family placed a For King and Country notice in the 16 June 1917 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle:

TAYLOR – Missing since 1st July 1916 Rifleman William Robert (Robert) Taylor, Royal Irish Rifles, now reported killed, the dear grandson of William and C. Conway, Killaughey, and much beloved nephew of Agnes Tollerton. It contained the verse:

Greater love hath no man,

That he lay down his life,

With all its promises,

That other men might live.

Sadly mourned by his sorrowing Aunt, Agnes Tollerton, Canneyreagh, Donaghadee.

Deeply regretted by his many relatives.

In the Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1919 database it is recorded that William Robert Taylor was born in the townland of Cannyreagh, Donaghadee.

William Robert Taylor was a grandson of William and Charlotte Conway (nee Muckle) who lived in the townland of Killaughey, Donaghadee.  William Conway was a farmer and he and Charlotte had at least eleven children including Agnes, Mary, Jane, Thomas, Sarah, Hugh and Charlotte.

In 1901 William Robert Taylor (aged 5) was living in the townland of Ballyvester with his aunt, Agnes Tollerton (aged 34), her daughter Agnes (aged 10), her son John (aged 7).  Jane Conway (aged 22) was a boarder.

Prior to the outbreak of the Great War William Robert Taylor worked as a farm servant.  He enlisted in Donaghadee, went to France on 9 December 1915, served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division and was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Rifleman William Robert Taylor’s body was recovered and he was buried in Serre Road Cemetery No. 2, France.

Rifleman William Robert Taylor made his will on 27 November 1915 and in it he left all of his property and effects to Agnes Tollerton.  In his will he referred to Agnes Tollerton as his Mother.  In the Army Register of Property and Effects she is referred to as his Aunt.

Rifleman William Robert Taylor is commemorated on Donaghadee and District War Memorial.