Vance, William (No. 586564)

Vance, William

Ex-Rifleman

Royal Irish Rifles (No. 9395) transferred to the Labour Corps (No. 586564)

Died as the result of disease 22 October 1921 (aged 53)

Buried:

Newtownards (Movilla) Cemetery (Grave 10. 120)

Commemorated:

Newtownards and District War Memorial

BIOGRAPHY

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 identified as Rifleman (No. 6078), 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles who died of wounds on 17 January 1915.

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 the result of wounds or disease.

William Vance (East Street) also had connections with Greenwell Street and Windmill Row, Newtownards.

William Vance (East Street) died as the result of haemoptysis and pulmonary tuberculosis on 22 October 1921 in the Ulster Volunteer Hospital, Botanic Avenue, Belfast.  On his death certificate he was described as an Army Pensioner from 16 Windmill Row, Newtownards.

William Vance was born on 12 July 1867 in Newtownards Workhouse, and he was a son of William and Mary Vance (nee Blair) who were married on 31 July 1854 in Kircubbin Presbyterian Church.  William Vance (aged 21), a labourer from the townland of Sloanstown, Carrowdore was a son of John Vance, a labourer.  Mary Blair (aged 21) from Innishargie, Kircubbin was a daughter of James Blair, a labourer.  Three of their children have been identified:

Mary (born 17 April 1865 at Innishargie, Kircubbin; worked in a factory; died of tuberculosis 13 February 1888 in Newtownards Workhouse, aged 22)

William (born 12 July 1867 in Newtownards Workhouse)

Unnamed girl (born 8 October 1871 at home in Greenwell Street, Newtownards; this child was subsequently named Maggie and she died of marasmus 2 April 1875 (aged 3) at home in Greenwell Street)

Their mother, Mary Vance (nee Blair) died of influenza and bronchitis 24 December 1891 (aged 55) in Newtownards Workhouse.

Their father, William Vance died of senile decay 14 April 1904 (aged 72) in Newtownards Workhouse.

After he left school, William Vance, who was born on 12 July 1867 in Newtownards Workhouse, worked as a labourer for George Walker & Co Ltd, flax and hemp spinners, Newtownards.  William joined the 3rd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (No. 384) on 4 October 1883 (aged 16) in Newtownards, and it was noted in his attestation papers that he was 5 feet 4 inches tall with a sallow complexion and hazel eyes.

William Vance and Mary Jane Mateer were married on 7 December 1894 in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church, Newtownards.  William Vance, a labourer from Newtownards, was a son of William Vance, a labourer.  Mary Jane Mateer from Newtownards was a daughter of John Mateer, a labourer.  Mary Jane Vance (nee Mateer) worked as a charwoman and in 1901 (aged 40) she was living in Francis Street, Newtownards.  Mary Jane died at 71 North Queen Street, Belfast on 7 April 1906 (aged 45).

William Vance and Ellen Cherry were married on 11 January 1910 in Newtownards Registrar’s Office.  William Vance, a full-age, widowed labourer from Greenwell Street was a son of William Vance, a labourer.  Ellen Cherry, a full-age spinster from Francis Street was a daughter of William Cherry, a labourer.  In 1901 the unmarried Ellen Cherry (aged 31) was living in Mill Street, Newtownards with her unmarried mother, Mary Edgar (aged 63) and her daughter, Matilda McCready (aged 1).  Matilda was born on 15 July 1899 at Mill Street and Ellen’s mother Mary was present at her birth.  Mary Edgar died of cancer at home in Mill Street on 29 September 1902 (aged 63).  Ellen was with her when she died.

Army service records show that William Vance 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 step-daughter Matilda.

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’.  It was noted that he was entitled to a silver war badge.

It is on William Vance’s Pension Index Card that there is reference to his address being 74 East Street, Newtownards, c/o the Salvation Army Home, Waring Street, Belfast

William Vance (East Street) died as the result of haemoptysis and pulmonary tuberculosis on 22 October 1921 in the Ulster Volunteer Hospital, Botanic Avenue, Belfast, and he was buried on 23 October 1921 in Movilla Cemetery, Newtownards (Grave 10.120).