Royal Irish Rifles
Newtownards and District War Memorial
The name William Vance is listed twice on Newtownards and District War Memorial and the two men are distinguished by the street that each was associated with – East Street and Greenwell Street.
William Vance from Greenwell Street has been positively identified (No. 6078, 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles) but not William Vance from East Street.
In the booklet produced for the Unveiling and Dedication Ceremony held on Saturday 26 May 1934 William Vance (East Street) 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 a result of wounds or disease.
Army service records show that a William Vance from Newtownards enlisted on 20 October 1914 in Newtownards and served with the 3rd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (No. 9395). He declared that he was 47 years old, a general labourer and lived at 9 Windmill Row, Newtownards. His dependents were his wife Ellen and his daughter Matilda.
William Vance and Ellen Cherry were married on 11 January 1910 in Newtownards Registrar’s Office. William Vance was a widower and Ellen Cherry was a spinster. Ellen Cherry already had a daughter, Matilda McCready Cherry, who was born on 15 July 1899.
Rifleman William Vance (No. 9395) was transferred to the Labour Corps (No. 586564) on 29 April 1918 and discharged from the Army on 14 November 1918 as being ‘no longer physically fit for war service because of a wound received in action’.
Desk searches and public appeals to date have not confirmed a connection between these service data and the casualty who is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial: William Vance (East Street).