Lieutenant Ezekiel Vance - died 15/7/1916
11th Royal Irish Rifles
Ezekiel was born on 4th November 1870, son of William and Elizabeth Suffern Vance of Antrim. He was the husband of Annie Morton West Vance of Riverside, Antrim, who he had married on 8th December 1914.
He was also a company commander in the Ulster Volunteer Force and applied for a commission on 26th September 1914.
Ezekiel was injured as part of the Ulster Division assault from Thiepval Wood on 1st July 1916 and taken prisoner. He send a postcard to his wife on 7th July 1916, stating that he was slightly wounded.
Ezekiel died "of a gunshot wound in the head with protusion of the brain" at the age of 45, at 7.30 pm on 15th July 1916. A report was received from the German government on 29th August 1916 confirming his death at the Kriegslazarett (Military Hospital) at Caudry.
Shortly before Ezekiel's death, he and Elizabeth had their first son, Patrick Thiepval West, born 16th May 1916. Annie died in Antrim on 15th April 1925, aged 46.
Ezekiel is buried in Caudry Old Communal Cemetery (ref B 8), Nord, France.
Lieutenant Claud Arthur Leonard Walker - died 10/7/1916
2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Claud was the son of the Reverend R Walker LLD and Mrs L J T Walker of St Matthew's Rectory, Shankill, Belfast. After Inst, he joined the Public Schools Corps in August 1914 and was nominated to Sandhurst in December 1914. He was commissioned in May 1915
Claud was killed in action on 10th July 1916, at the age of 21. The battalion war diary for that day states:
"Battalion left Bouzincourt at 5pm. To be attached to 14th Infantry Brigade at Ovillers La Boisselle. Battalion was ordered to attack at 9pm with a view to gaining trenches and extending our line to the left of Ovillers. Two companies were in front line and two in support. The position was taken, and one minenwerfer fell into our hands. At 10pm, one of the supporting companies was sent up to reinforce and assist in consolidating the line gained." The battalion lost 15 men that day, including Claud.
Claud is buried in Bouzincourt Communal Cemetery Extension (ref I B 2), Somme, France. He is also commemorated on the Hillsborough Memorial, County Down and the Magheragall Memorial, County Antrim.
Corporal William Neville Warwick - died 6/8/1917
10th Royal Irish Rifles - service number 529
William was born in Randalstown and living in Larne when he enlisted in Belfast.
He was killed in action on 6th August 1917. The battalion were in brigade reserve, in the trenches near Wieltje, but were subject to heavy shelling. 22 men of the battalion were killed, including William.
He is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial (panel 40), Flanders, Belgium
Second Lieutenant Thomas White - died 8/7/1916
2nd The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment attached 8th Battalion
Thomas was born on 5th July 1886, the son of W J White, of Swansville, Winston Gardens, Knock, Belfast. After Inst, he served his apprenticeship with Messrs Thomas McMullan and Co., Belfast, and then travelled to London, becoming Secretary to the firm of Harker, Stagg and Morgan Ltd, of which his uncle, also Thomas White, was a director. He was a member of the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps when commissioned on 15th August 1915.
He died of wounds on 8th July 1916. On the previous day, the 7th Brigade, of which Thomas was a member, took over trenches at the Leipzig Salient, to the south of Thiepval village. The War Diary states that "the position was a difficult one, especially in view of the fact that it had been taken over by night in absolute darkness. A German counterattack was expected but this did not actually take place. The night passed quietly except for desultory shelling and bombing."
In spite of the expected counterattack not occurring, the battalion still suffered 43 casualties before being relieved. Of these, 7 men died, including Thomas.
Thomas is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial (pier and face 11A), Somme, France.
Captain Robert Henry Wilson - died 15/5/1917
Royal Army Medical Corps attached 84th Royal Field Artillery
Robert was the son of Mr and Mrs Henry Wilson of Straid, Ballynure, County Antrim
He died of wounds, at the age of 26, on 15th May 1917.
He is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery (ref XVII E 19), Pas de Calais, France.
Second Lieutenant Robert Wright - died 7/11/1917
18th Royal Irish Rifles attached 2/5th Royal Irish Fusiliers
Robert was the only son of David and Marion Dunlop Wright of "The Moat", Dundonald, Belfast. He was born at "Downan", Ballantrae, Ayrshire.
He was killed in action, at the age of 21, as part of the Third Battle of Gaza, in which the city was captured by British forces under the command of General Allenby. The battalion war diary states the following about the day's action:
"The battalion was ordered to attack the Hareira Tepe redoubt situated about 2 miles north of the Rushdi system. At 7am the attack was launched supported to the right by the 6th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and 4 Vickers Guns. The battalion came under heavy shell fire shortly after the attack commenced but casualties were few from this cause. About 1200 yards from the position, the battalion came under the most heavy concentrated machine gun fire and during its advance to the final position suffered many casualties. The right and centre portion of the line reached a position about 300 yards from the object from which further advance was impossible.
The Turks retired and the battalion was able to charge the position. The Hareira Tepe redoubt was found to be a very strong position with two lines of fire and numerous machine gun emplacements. The redoubt dominates the surrounding positions. From information received from prisoners and from personal observation, it was defended by at least 30 machine guns and a garrison of about 300 men.
The battalion camped on the occupied ground. The Divisional Commander personally congratulated the CO and the battalion on their magnificent performance."
The battalion suffered over 120 casualties - 23 men were killed including Robert.
Robert is buried in Gaza War Cemetery (ref XX B 13), Israel.