Private William Copeland


William Copeland was born on 30 October 1889 at Clougheuramer, Newry, County Down, the sixth of ten children of cellarman Robert Copeland and his wife Sarah Jane (nee Lowry). His father died when he was just 15 years old. By 1911 he was living at Clougheuramer with his mother and five siblings and working as a farmer.

On 22 April 1914 he married laundry maid Annie Matilda Anderson at the Presbyterian Meeting House, Newry. He recorded his occupation as a railway porter. The couple had seven children over the following two decades.

Copeland enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Newry on 30 October 1909 (No.427). He embarked for France with a small group of reinforcements for A and C Squadrons on 20 January 1915.

Later that year Copeland fell ill and on 29 June he was evacuated to the UK. He was due to return to duty from sick furlough on 11 September 1915, but he failed to turn up. It was not until 12 November, two weeks after his term of service had expired, that he surrendered himself at the regiment's base depot at Antrim.

Copeland was discharged as time expired from 29 October 1915, but had to forfeit 48 days' pay for the time he was absent. His record of service was marked as 'good'.

William Copeland died at Belfast on 8 April 1954.