Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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64673   Sapper William J Lewis
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 30/05/2020
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 122nd Field Company, Royal Engineers (British Army)
Died: 01/07/1916 (Killed in Action)
Age: 22
Summary      
William J Lewis was the eldest son of James and Jane Lewis. He was born in Philadelphia, USA about1884. His elder sister Margaret was also born in America. He was one of seven children, six surviving. They moved back to Tyrone about 1896. William was in the employment of Messrs. Hale, Martin & Co. Ltd., Dungannon, prior to the outbreak of war. On reaching the required age, the young William Lewis promptly volunteered. Sapper William Lewis had been attached to the 12th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles (the Central Antrim Volunteers), in connection with the attack on 1st July. He was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916.
Further Information
William J Lewis was the eldest son of James and Jane Lewis. They were married about 1880. Both were born in Tyrone.
William was born in Philadelphia, USA about1884. His elder sister Margaret was also born in America. He was one of seven children, six surviving.
Known family: James Lewis, Jane Lewis, Margaret Lewis (born about 1882, Philadelphia), William Lewis (born about 1884, Philadelphia), Lizzie Lewis (born about 1886), Eddie Lewis (born about 1888), Mary Lewis (born about 1890), Charles Lewis (born about 1892).
The 1901 census lists Willie as age 7, living with the family at house 1 in Cottagequinn, Derrygortrevy, Dungannon.
The 1911 census record William as age 17 years old, living with the family at Milltown Street, Dungannon. He was 17 years old. He was working as a Preparing Master.
William was in the employment of Messrs. Hale, Martin & Co. Ltd., Dungannon, prior to the outbreak of war. According to the 1910 Ulster Towns Directory, Hale, Martin, & Co., Ltd., was a spinning mill.
He was a member of C Company, Dungannon Battalion, Ulster Volunteer Force before enlisting.
On reaching the required age, the young William Lewis promptly volunteered.
Medal card
Sapper Lewis, along with other engineers, had been attached to the 12th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles (the Central Antrim Volunteers), in connection with the attack on 1st July, but had not been since heard of since that day.
Sapper William Lewis, 122nd Field Company, Royal Engineers (Ulster Division), had been reported wounded during the advance in 1st July 1916 at the Somme.
Sapper William Lewis was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916.
William had constantly written home and his relatives were becoming uneasy at the absence of letters from him.
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 20th July 1916:
Sapper William Lewis, Royal Engineers, Ulster Division, Park Road, Dungannon, wounded.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 22 July 1916:
Mr James Lewis, Park Road, Dungannon, received intimation on Tuesday from a comrade-in-arms in France that his eldest son, Sapper William Lewis, Royal Engineers (Ulster Division), had been wounded during the advance in 1st July. The wounded soldier had constantly written home and his relatives were becoming uneasy at the absence of letters from him lately. He was a very efficient member of C Company, Dungannon Battalion, U.V.F.
From the Tyrone Courier dated 3 August 1916:
Mr James Lewis, Park Road, Dungannon, received official intimation on Saturday that his eldest son, Sapper William Lewis, Royal Engineers, was missing and believed killed. He was attached to the Central Antrim Volunteers in the 'big push' on 1st July and had not been since heard of.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 5th August 1916: Sapper William Lewis
Mr James Lewis, Park Road, Dungannon, received intimation on Saturday that his eldest son, Sapper William Lewis, of the Royal Engineers (Ulster Division), was missing and believed killed. From enquiries made, it has been ascertained that Sapper Lewis with other engineers had been attached to the 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (Central Antrim Volunteers), in connection with the big push, but had not been since heard of since 1st July. He was in the employment of Messrs. Hale, Martin & Co. Ltd., Dungannon, prior to the outbreak of war, and on reaching the required age, promptly volunteered. He was of a quiet disposition and was well liked by all his companions.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 30th September 1916: Sapper Lewis
The mystery surrounding the fate of Sapper William Lewis, Royal Engineers, who had been officially reported as wounded and missing since 1st July, has been solved. His father, Mr James Lewis, Park Road, Dungannon, has received a letter from the young man's officer, Lieutenant Young, stating that the body of his son had been found in No Man's Land by the Black Watch on 16th September and had been suitably interred. His identification disc, pocket book, and ring, had also been found. The deceased soldier volunteered on the formation of the Ulster Division. He had been an active member of the Dungannon Battalion U.V.F., and was highly esteemed by all who knew him.
Sapper William Lewis has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
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Relevant Dungannon Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Milltown, Dungannon Dungannon Town South Census listing in Milltown 54.500404 -6.767758
2 Cottagequinn, Moygashel Dungannon Town South Census listing in Cottagequinn 54.488030 -6.773198
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists Lewis family Lists Willie as age 7, living with the family at house 1 in Coltagequinn, Derrygortrevy, Tyrone
2 1910 Ulster Towns Directory Hale, Martin and Co, Ltd, spinning mill
3 1911 Census lists Lewis family Lists William as age 17, living with the family at house 11 in Miltown Street (North), Dungannon
4 National Archives UK Medal Card can be purchased here
5 Townlands.ie Cottagequinn, Moygashel
Dungannon District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2015-2020