1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance

Soldier Record

William Caldwell

Contributed by: Jean Caldwell, on 2008-11-11

William Caldwell
Rank
First Name William
Surname Caldwell
Year of Birth 1878
Year of Death 1917
Regiment Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Place of Wartime Residence Garvagh, Londonderry

William's Story

William Caldwell was born, first son and third child of James and Eliza Caldwell of Clintonville, Garvagh. Hebecame a postman after leaving school. When the Great War started, William enlisted in Kilrea possibly in 1914. He became a Private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 10th Battalion, Regiment Number: 19134.

William went to France in October of 1915 and was based near the two small French villages of Mesnil and Martinsart before the start of the Battle of the Somme. After the first day of the action, the 36th Ulster Division had taken such a battering that they had to be taken out of the line and withdrawn to St Omer for reorganisation and to be brought back up to strength. They were then moved to Belgium and the quieter areas around the River Douve. Here they trained their new volunteers in the art of trench warfare. These new recruits had never faced the enemy in battle and had to be made fully aware of all the dangers they were about to face.

By mid January 1917, William was still at the front line. On the day of 20th January, he was killed by shellfire alongside Private John Ross (Jack) Cochrane and Lance Corporal A Leacock. The shell that killed them was called a ‘Minnie’ which was the common name for the German “Minenwerfer”, one of the artillery pieces most feared by the men. They were big shells the size of an oil drum.

William is interred in Berks Cemetery and lies in Plot 1, Row K, Grave 11. He is commemorated in St Paul’s Church in Garvagh where there is a lovely Roll of Honour as well as on the War Memorial at the Town Clock in Garvagh.

Other memories

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