William Cotter was born in Aughnacloy, County Tyrone about 1880. H lived in Belfast and was employed by Belfast tramways. William was a reservist and enlisted in Belfast. Rifleman William Cotter was serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles when he was killed in action on the Western Front at the Battle of Bellewaarde on 16th June 1915. He was wounded early on the morning of the 16th, but refused to go to the dressing station, and later on in the day a shell exploded close to his trench which caused it to fall in and Rifleman Cotter was buried in the debris.
Ypres (now Ieper) is a town in the Province of West Flanders. The Memorial is situated at the eastern side of the town on the road to Menin (Menen) and Courtrai (Kortrijk). Each night at 8 pm the traffic is stopped at the Menin Gate while members of the local Fire Brigade sound the Last Post in the roadway under the Memorial's arches.