Tyrrell, Walter Alexander (Walter)
Flight Commander (Captain)
32nd Squadron, Royal Air Force
Killed in action on Sunday 9 June 1918 (aged 19)
Beauvais Communal Cemetery, France (Grave 17. 558)
Bangor and District War Memorial
Royal British Legion (Bangor Branch) Memorial Plaque
Comrades of the Great War (Bangor Branch) Album in North Down Museum
First Bangor Presbyterian Church
Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI)
Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) War Memorial
Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) Book of Remembrance
Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour
Family grave headstone in Belfast City Cemetery
Walter Alexander Tyrrell was born on 23 August 1898 at 34/36 Fairview Buildings, Crumlin Road, Belfast and he was a son of John and Jeannie Tyrrell (nee Todd) who were married on 12 February 1885 in Ballysillan Presbyterian Church. John Tyrrell was a son of John Tyrrell, a farmer. Jeannie Todd was a daughter of Samuel Todd, a grocer.
Walter Alexander Tyrrell was baptised in St Enoch’s Presbyterian Church Belfast.
The Tyrrell family lived at Brookville, 209 Antrim Road, Belfast and, during the summer months, at The Cairn, Ballyholme, Bangor.
John Tyrrell was a wholesale grocer and army contractor and an Alderman and Justice of the Peace. His business address was Fairview Buildings, Crumlin Road, Belfast. John and Jeannie Tyrrell had ten children:
William (born 20 November 1885 at 6 Hopewell Street, Belfast)
James Manderson (born 12 September 1887 at 6 Hopewell Street, Belfast)
Susan Maud (born 8 July 1889 at 9 Shankill Road, Belfast)
Herbert (born 28 September 1891 at 36 Crumlin Road, Belfast)
Jeannie Ethel (born 16 June 1893 at 34/36 Fairview Buildings, Crumlin Road, Belfast; died 28 May 1910 aged 16)
John Marcus (born 27 March 1895 at 34/36 Fairview Buildings, Crumlin Road, Belfast)
Elizabeth Ruth (born 28 January 1897 at 34/36 Fairview Buildings, Crumlin Road, Belfast)
Walter Alexander (born 23 August 1898 at 34/36 Fairview Buildings, Crumlin Road, Belfast)
Dorothy (born 16 August 1900 in Ruskin Villas, Bangor)
Charles Frederick Gerald (born 20 August 1902 in Ballyholme)
William Tyrrell (brother of Marcus and Walter) was a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast and in August 1914 he went to France as medical officer with a battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers. William Tyrrell was awarded the Distinguished Service Order with Bar and the Military Cross, he attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and survived the war.
Walter Tyrrell was killed in action eleven days before his brother Marcus died.
Walter Alexander Tyrrell was educated at RBAI and the Belfast Municipal Technical Institution. He served as a Petty Officer in the Royal Naval Air Squadron (Armoured Car Section) from 26 December 1914 to 24 November 1915. During this time he spent 8 months in France and was injured when an armoured car crushed his foot. Thereafter he had to wear a specially made boot. He was a member of the Queen’s University Belfast Officers’ Training Corps and was working as an apprentice motor engineer when he was commissioned into the Royal Flying Corps in July 1917.
It was reported that Walter Tyrrell was Ireland’s fourth ranked air ace with 17 victories, the first of which was on 30 October 1917 over Passchendaele. On one occasion he was awarded the Military Cross and the citation read: ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. On one day this officer attacked two enemy tri-planes, destroying one and driving down the other out of control. After this he was attacked by two other machines, one of which he forced to land, taking the occupants prisoners. On various other occasions, he has destroyed or driven down out of control enemy machines’.
Walter Tyrrell was killed on 9 June 1918 when his machine was brought down by enemy machine gun fire from the trenches. His brother Marcus attended his funeral.
Captain Walter Alexander Tyrrell MC was 19 when he died and he was buried in Beauvais Communal Cemetery, France. There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:
Captain Walter Alexander Tyrell MC is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial; in the Comrades of the Great War (Bangor Branch) Album in North Down Museum (Page 23); on the RBL Bangor Branch Memorial Plaque; in First Bangor Presbyterian Church; in RBAI; on the QUB War Memorial; in the QUB Book of Remembrance (Page 54) and in the Belfast Book of Honour (Page 636). He is also commemorated on the family grave headstone in Belfast City Cemetery. His mother Jeannie died on 14 May 1922 (aged 59) and his father John died on 28 October 1925 (aged 61).