Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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11182   Private William Best
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 01/01/2021
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 9th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (British Army)
Died: 01/07/1916 (Killed in Action)
Age: 37
Summary      
William Best was the son of Margaret Best. William was born Partick, Lanarkshire, Scotland about 1879. The 1901 census records William as age 22 living with the family at house 53 in Drumcoo, Derrygortrevy, Tyrone. His mother was a widow, working as a nurse and a domestic servant. William Best was coach man and domestic servant. The 1911 census reveals William working as a Groom and Domestic Servant for the Scott family (solicitor) in Gortshalgan, Drumaspil, County Tyrone. William Best enlisted in Dungannon, County Tyrone. Private William Best was killed in action on 1st July 1916 at the Somme.
Private William Best
Further Information
William Best was the son of Margaret Best. William was born Patrick, Lanarkshire, Scotland about 1879.
The 1901 census records William as age 22 living with the family at house 53 in Drumcoo, Derrygortrevy, Tyrone. His mother was a widow, working as a nurse and a domestic servant. William Best was coach man and domestic servant.
The 1911 census shows William's sister Margaret living in Drumcoo with another sister, Mary Jane Frizzell.
The 1911 census reveals a William Best, age 33, born Glasgow, single, working as a groom and domestic servant for the Scott family (solicitor) in Gortshalgan, Drumaspil, County Tyrone.
Two of William's sisters, Mrs Frizelle and Mrs A Ferguson, also resided in Dungannon.
He was an active member of the Bush Company, Dungannon U.V.F., and was an officer in L.O.L. No 178, Dungannon.
Prior to enlisting, Private Best was chauffeur to Captain R H Scott, who resided at Elm Lodge before the war.
William Best enlisted in Dungannon, County Tyrone.
Private Best arrived in France on 5th October 1915.
Medal card
Private William Best
Private William Best was serving with the 9th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed in action on 1st July 1916 at the Somme. He was struck by fragments of a shell while in the act of carrying water to the wounded comrades. William was 37 years old.
From the Tyrone Courier dated 13 July 1916:
Miss Best, Drumcoo Terrace, Dungannon, received the following letter on Monday from a Corporal of the Inniskillings:-
'I exceedingly regret to have to convey to you the distressing news that your brother, Private William Best, was killed in action on Sunday night. Our battalion went into the trenches on Friday night to lead the great attack for the Ulster Division in the big advance. They fought like lions and the immortal charge they made will never be forgiven. Your brother was struck by fragments of a shell while in the act of carrying water to the wounded heroes. I was speaking to him before he went into the trenches on Friday night and little did I think that we would not meet again. You can always cherish the thought he died a hero's death and that he laid down his life for his friends. He was a staunch comrade and a true friend and my heart's sympathy is with you in your great loss and sad bereavement.'
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 15th July 1916:
Newspaper report
BEST The Officers and Sir Knights of Golden Knights of Dungannon RB.B.P. No 52, deeply regret the death of their esteemed Brother, Sir Knight William Best (Tyrone Volunteers), killed in France on 1st July, whilst engaged in the brotherly act of administering a drink to a wounded and helpless comrade. James Davidson, R.W.M. Thomas Lucas, Registrar.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 15th July 1916: Private William Best
Newspaper report
Private William Best of the 9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers has been killed in action. He was well-known in Dungannon and was for a number of years in the employment of Captain R H Scott, Elm Lodge. He was an active member of the Bush Company, Dungannon U.V.F., and was an officer in L.O.L. No 178, Dungannon, Corporal R Hamilton, writing to Miss Best on 4th July says:-
'I exceedingly regret to have to convey to you the distressing news that your brother, Private William Best, was killed in action on Sunday night, but I feel it was my duty to do so as he was on of my best friends. Our battalion went into the trenches on Friday night to lead the great attack for the Ulster Division in the big advance. They fought like lions and the immortal charge they made will never be forgotten. Your brother was struck by fragments of a shell while in the act of carrying water to the wounded heroes. I was speaking to him before he went into the trenches on Friday night and little did I think that we would not meet again. You can always cherish the thought he died a hero's death fighting for his King and country, and that he laid down his life for his friends. He was a staunch comrade and a true friend and my heartfelt sympathy is with you in your great loss and sad bereavement.'
From the Tyrone Courier dated 20 July 1916:
Private William Best (Dungannon), Tyrone Volunteers, killed in action on 2nd July, while carrying water to the wounded.
From the Tyrone Courier and Dungannon News dated Thursday 3 July 1919: In Memorial
In sad, but loving remembrance of our dear brother Private William Best, 9th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (Ulster Division). Killed in action at the Somme battle, 1st July 1916.
'Shall we forget? Oh No!
For memory's golden chain,
Will bind our hearts to the heart we love,
When we meet in Heaven above.'
Sadly missed by his loving sisters, M J Frizell, M Best and L Ferguson, Drumcoo Terrace and Milltown, Dungannon
Last Will and Testament of William Best:
'In the event of my death, I give the whole of my property and effects to my sister Mrs Margaret Best, Drumcoo Terrace, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland. 11182 Private William Best 9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 18 June 1916.'
Private William Best is commemorated on Pier and Face 4D and 5B of the Thiepval Memorial in France.
Private William Best is commemorated locally on Dungannon War Memorial and on the WWI Roll of Honour in St Anne's Church Of Ireland in Dungannon.
Read more
Relevant Dungannon Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Drumcoo, Derrygortreavy Dungannon Town North Census listing in Drumcoo 54.514368 -6.767367
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists Best family Lists William as age 22 living with the family at house 53 in Drumcoo, Derrygortrevy, Tyrone
2 1911 Census lists William Best Lists William as age 33 working as a groom at house 5 in Gortshalgan, Drumaspil, Tyrone
3 1911 Census lists William's sister Does not list William as living with his sister at house 54 in Drumcoo Rural, Derrygortrevy, Tyrone
4 National Archives of Ireland Last Will and Testament of William Best (Erroneous - 29/3/2014 - awaiting correction)
5 National Archives UK Medal Card can be purchased here
Dungannon District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2015-2023