Workman MC, Edward

Workman, Edward (Ted)

Military Cross

Mentioned in Despatches


2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles

Died of wounds on Wednesday 26 January 1916 (aged 29)


Etaples Military Cemetery, France (Grave I. B. 21)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Workman Memorial, Belfast City Cemetery

Workman Family and Shipyard Memorial

Charterhouse School Memorial Chapel

County Antrim Yacht Club Whitehead

Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Cultra

Royal Ulster Yacht Club, Bangor

Ulster Club Belfast

North of Ireland Cricket Club Memorial Plaque (includes those members of the Club who played Rugby Football)

Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle, Co. Down

Family grave headstone in Belfast City Cemetery


Edward Workman was born on 4 December 1886 at 32 College Gardens, Belfast and he was the only son of Frank and Sara Workman (nee McCausland) who were married on 10 June 1885 in Fisherwick Presbyterian Church Belfast.  Frank Workman was a son of Robert Workman, a merchant.  Sara McCausland was a daughter of John McCausland, a merchant.

The Workman family lived at The Moat, Strandtown, Belfast.

Frank Workman (born 16 February 1856 and one of 14 children) was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI) before joining the Belfast shipbuilders Harland and Wolff (H&W) as a gentleman apprentice in 1873. By 1879 (aged 23) he had left H&W to set up his own shipbuilding yard in Belfast. A year later, in 1880, another former H&W apprentice, George Clark, became his business partner, and the Workman Clark Shipbuilding Company was established. The yard was initially on the northern bank of the River Lagan but in 1891 moved to the southern bank.  Nothing of the yard remains today. Workman Clark constructed a total of 535 ships with peak production in 1919 when the yard boasted a workforce of around 10,000. Workman Clark officially ceased trading in 1937 and the yard was absorbed into the much larger Harland & Wolff.  Frank Workman was also prominent in local politics. President of the Belfast Victoria Unionist Association, he was elected to Belfast City Council in 1908 and to the position of High Sheriff of Belfast in 1913.

Frank and Sara Workman had at least two children:

Edward (born 4 December 1886 at 32 College Gardens, Belfast)

Florence (born 8 July 1888 at 32 College Gardens, Belfast)

Edward Workman was educated at Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey and at Trinity College, Cambridge.  After leaving Trinity with a BA degree he joined his father’s shipbuilding company, managed the South Yard and became a Director.  He was a Company Commander in the 6th Battalion, East Belfast Regiment of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).  He was a member of the Royal Ulster Yacht Club, the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club, the County Down Staghounds, the North of Ireland Football Club and the Ulster Club at 23 Castle Place,Belfast.

[The Ulster Club sold its premises at 23 Castle Place in the late 1960s and leased premises in High Street.  The Ulster Club merged with the Ulster Reform Club in 1982]

On 15 August 1914 Edward Workman received a commission in the 5th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and served under Lieutenant Colonel T.V.P. McCammon at Victoria Barracks Belfast and Palace Barracks Holywood.  He went to the Front on 1 May 1915.  On 22 May 1915 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, attached to the 2nd Battalion and in September 1915 was mentioned in despatches at Hooge.  Later he was fatally wounded in the head during a raid on the German trenches and he died on 26 January 1916.

He was struck on the head by a rifle butt during hand to hand fighting and the wound developed septic poisoning.  He was taken to the Duchess of Westminster’s War Hospital at Le Touquet where his parents, sister and brother-in-law visited him.  He subsequently died there of meningitis.

Lieutenant Edward Workman was awarded the MC ‘for conspicuous gallantry under heavy shell fire during an attack. He organised and rallied attacking parties, and, although wounded himself, continued with great coolness to direct operations’.

Lieutenant Edward Workman MC was buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, France and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:





Lieutenant Edward Workman MC is commemorated on the Workman Memorial in Belfast City Cemetery; on the Workman Family and Shipyard Memorial (originally sited at the gates of the North Yard and unveiled by Sir Edward Carson on 8 August 1919; subsequently re-sited in the Pump House); in Charterhouse School Memorial Chapel; in the County Antrim Yacht Club Whitehead; in the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Cultra; in the Ulster Club Belfast and on the North of Ireland Cricket Club Memorial Plaque (includes those members of the Club who played Rugby Football)

[The North of Ireland Football Club (members played Rugby Football as opposed to Soccer) was founded by members of the North of Ireland Cricket Club and the North of Ireland Cricket Club Memorial Plaque commemorates members of both Clubs.  Members of the Football Club were also members of the Cricket Club but not all members of the Cricket Club were members of the Football Club.]

Edward’s sister, Florence Workman and David Cecil Lindsay were married on 10 June 1913 in Belmont Presbyterian Church Belfast.  David Lindsay of Ashburne, Strandtown was a merchant and he was a son of David Lindsay, a merchant.  During the First World War David Lindsay served as a Captain with the 17th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.  Their son, Christopher Francis Cecil Lindsay, was born on 8 April 1914 in Quarry House, Ballymaghan and their daughter Sara Lindsay was born on 6 July 1917.  Their son, Squadron Leader Frank Workman Lindsay, served during the Second World War.

During the First World War Edward’s cousin, Second Lieutenant Franz Workman, 5th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry.  Franz Workman was born on 15 May 1886 in Newtownbreda Manse and he was a son of the Rev Robert Workman and Anna Workman (nee Dittler).

Edward’s father, Frank Workman, died on 14 November 1927 (aged 71) and his mother, Sara Workman, died on 10 April 1932 (aged 70).  Both were buried in Belfast City Cemetery (Grave K 346).