Taggart, William Henry
Civilian War Dead
Died as the result of enemy action on Tuesday 15 April 1941 (aged 42)
Taggart family grave headstone in Ardquin (Abbacy) Church of Ireland Graveyard, Portaferry
In the CWGC Debt of Honour website it is recorded that William Henry Taggart, a civilian who died at 135 Mervue Street, Belfast on 15 April 1941, was the husband of Elizabeth Taggart of 29 St. Leonard Street, Belfast.
William Henry Taggart’s wife Elizabeth (aged 43), and his daughter Ellen (aged 6), were also killed in the same incident during the blitz.
Between 10.45 pm on Easter Tuesday 15 April and 4.30 am on Wednesday 16 April 1941 there was a large-scale German Luftwaffe air raid on the City of Belfast. Other nearby towns and villages, including Bangor and Newtownards, were also attacked. Areas of Bangor where bombs fell, included Ashley Gardens, Bangor Golf Clubhouse, Baylands, Farnham Road, Hazeldene Gardens and Ranfurly Avenue. Fires blazed on Scrabo Hill, Newtownards and bombs fell on Green Road, Conlig and Comber Road, Newtownards. At least 30 people with North Down and Ards connections were killed, including the following 16 civilians.
- Matilda Grattan together with her daughters Angeline Grattan and Shelagh Grattan who died at 40 Ashley Gardens in Bangor.
- Margaret Byers Watt who died at 5 Hazeldene Gardens in Bangor.
- Robert Wright of 32 Baylands, Bangor who died of his injuries in Bangor Hospital.
- Edith, Henry, Isabella, and William Dunwoody; Nancy Simms Gribbin; Thomas Morton; William Henry Taggart; Bessie, Ellen Ogle, and Evelyn Tate; James Thompson who all died in Belfast.
That night the aerodrome at Newtownards, which was the Headquarters of 231 Squadron, Royal Air Force was attacked. The aerodrome was guarded by soldiers of the 70th (Young Soldiers) Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, some of whom were too young for front line service and were deployed instead on the home front. Newtownards aerodrome was attacked with a considerable number of incendiary bombs and some high explosive bombs. One high explosive bomb that fell on the hutments of ‘A’ Company Headquarters killed 13 men, all of whom served with the 70th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Most were killed instantly, and the remainder died the following day as the result of their injuries:
- Fusilier William Bellamy (aged 28)
- Fusilier Samuel Burke (aged 18)
- Lance Corporal Alexander Carlisle
- Fusilier Andrew Copling (aged 16)
- Fusilier Hugh Fulton (aged 17)
- Fusilier George Graham
- Fusilier Daniel Higgins
- Fusilier Leslie Love (aged 34)
- Fusilier Samuel McFarland (aged 19)
- Company Quartermaster Sergeant William McMurray (aged 27)
- Fusilier Ernest McNeill (aged 17)
- Warrant Officer Class II Alfred Penfold (aged 36)
- Fusilier Matthew Wright (aged 18)
The casualties were all taken to Ards District Hospital in Newtownards.
There was another casualty with an Ards connection who died during the night of 15/16 April 1941. Flight Lieutenant Wilfrid Mark Hamilton Brookes (aged 23) of 231 Squadron who was in Belfast at the time was killed during the air raid.
The deaths of William Henry, Elizabeth, and Ellen Taggart were reported in the 22 April 1941 edition of the Belfast Telegraph newspaper:
TAGGART – The Traffic Department of Harland & Wolff Ltd have learned with great sorrow of the death from enemy action of one of their colleagues: William Henry Taggart, also his wife Elizabeth and their daughter Ellen and wish to extend to the relatives their deepest sympathy.
William Henry Taggart is commemorated on a headstone in Ardquin (Abbacy) Church of Ireland Graveyard, Portaferry, but his wife and daughter are not commemorated thereon:
IN LOVING MEMORY OF HIS SON
HUGH TAGGART WHO DIED 1ST
APRIL 1901 AGED 4 YEARS
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
DIED 8TH NOVEMBER 1929
AGED 70 YEARS
HIS DEARLY LOVED WIFE
DIED 21ST JANUARY 1941
ALSO WILLIAM HENRY
DEARLY LOVED AND LOVING SON
DIED 15TH APRIL 1941
AND GOD SHALL WIPE AWAY
ALL TEARS FROM THEIR EYES
William Henry Taggart was born on 6 August 1899 in the townland of Ballywhite, Portaferry and he was a son of Samuel and Elizabeth Taggart (nee Kennedy) who were married on 27 July 1893 in Ballyphilip Parish Church of Ireland Church Portaferry. Samuel Taggart, a coachman from Ballywhite, Portaferry was a son of Hugh Taggart, a farmer. Elizabeth Kennedy from Kilclief was a daughter of Hugh Kennedy, a farmer.
Samuel and Elizabeth Taggart (nee Kennedy) had at least five children:
Samuel (born 19 September 1893 in Kilclief)
Alice Jane (born 5 May 1895 in Ballywhite)
Hugh (born 8 May 1897 in Thomastown; died of mitral regurgitation 1 April 1901 in Ballywhite)
William Henry (born 6 August 1899 in Ballywhite)
James (born 20 October 1904 in Thomastown)
William Henry Taggart and Elizabeth Hamilton were married on 13 September 1922 in Belmont Presbyterian Church, and they lived at 29 St. Leonard Street, Belfast. He worked in the Harland & Wolff Traffic Department.
William Henry Taggart was a member of Cregagh Temperance Loyal Orange Lodge (LOL), and Chapter 906 of the Grand Royal Arch Purple Chapter of Ireland.
William Henry Taggart, his wife Elizabeth Taggart, and his daughter Ellen Taggart died at 135 Mervue Street, Belfast on 15 April 1941.
Of the many civilians of the Commonwealth whose deaths were due to enemy action in the Second World War, the names of some 67,092 are commemorated in the Civilian War Dead Roll of Honour, located near St. George’s Chapel in Westminster Abbey, London.