Corporal William Glenny Andrews Withers

 

William Glenny Andrews Withers was born on 9 February 1866 at The Square, Comber, County Down, the fifth of seven children of clerk Robert Withers and his wife Jane (née Steele). By 1891 he was living in Keble Road, Bootle, Lancashire, and working as a merchant's clerk. It is probable that he later lived in South Africa, for there is a record of a man named WGA Withers serving in the South African Constabulary during the Boer War.

By the time of the 1911 Census, however, he was living at The Square, Comber, County Down, with his widowed mother, a brother and two nephews, and working as a grocer. He was a member of the North Down Cricket Club.

Withers enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 31 August 1914 (No.1059) – he was aged 48 at the time. On 1 May 1915 he embarked for France with D Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 51st Division.

In May 1916 D Squadron came together with A and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps. Withers remained with the regiment until September 1917, when, no doubt because of his age, he was transferred to the Labour Corps (No.371126) and posted to the 289th Area Employment Company.

On 20 March 1919 he was demobilised and transfered to Class Z, Army Reserve. Two week earlier he had married Mary Jane Phillips at St Clements Church in Belfast.

Withers was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal for "valuable services rendered with the Armies in France and Flanders" in the King's Birthday Honours List of 3 June 1919.

After the war Withers returned to his home at The Square, Comber. His wife was killed in a motor vehicle accident in October 1930, and by tragic coincidence, he died after his bicycle was knocked down by a car on 28 May 1938. He was buried in the Comber New Cemetery.

 

Northern Whig and Belfast Post, 31 May 1938

 

Withers' brother, Samuel Henry Withers MB, served in the war as a lieutenant-colonel in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was twice mentioned in despatches and awarded a CMG.