Poppy In memoriam Poppy

Private William John McAuley



McAuley 1


William John McAuley (born William Hugh), was born on 1 February 1893 at Andraid, Drummaul, County Antrim, the fifth of six children of farmer John Johnston McAuley and his wife Mary (nee Morrison). He grew up at the family farm at nearby Tamlaght, his mother dying when William was just 11 years old.

McAuley enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 28 October 1915 (No.1759). He was promoted to lance corporal on 1 August 1916 and acting corporal on 14 September before reverting to the rank of private at his own request on 13 November 1916.

On 20 September 1916 McAuley embarked for France, where he joined the 2nd North Irish Horse in the field at Flesselles.

In September 1917 the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment was dismounted and most of its men transferred to the infantry. After training at the 36th (Ulster) Division Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur, the men were formally transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers on 20 September and soon after were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – re-named the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt. McAuley was issued regimental number 41556 and posted to D Company.

McAuley probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

From 1 March to 1 April 1918 he was granted 'leave for agricultural purposes', thereby missing the retreat from St Quentin during the German spring offensive, in which many men of the battalion were killed, wounded or captured.

However, soon after he rejoined his battalion, McAuley was wounded in the left thigh and right buttock by shrapnel at Poperinghe railway station. He was evacuated to the No.10 Casualty Clearing Station at Remy Siding, but died there on 11 April 1918.

McAuley was buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, grave XXVI.H.11. His gravestone inscription reads:

11TH APRIL 1918


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Gravestone images Copyright © Phillip Tardif with all rights reserved as set out in this Use of Material policy. Newspaper clipping from the Ballymena Weekly Telegraph of May 1918 kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster (www.greatwarbelfastclippings.com).