We know from the CWGC cemetery register at Flesquieres Hill that
William was 25 when he died. The register also tells us he was the
son of the late Robert and Elizabeth Galway, who lived at 39 Church
View in Holywood, a suburb of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The Great War medal roll tells us that William served in the Royal
Irish Rifles before joining the new Tank Corps. He entered the war
in France on October 3rd, 1915.
In August, 2008, The
Belfast Telegraph newspaper published an article appealing for any
further information. As a result, we made contact with Stewart
Galway, William’s nephew, and his great nephew, also called Stewart,
both of whom still live in Holywood.
The family were
able to provide the photograph of William in uniform – and a copy of
his birth certificate, which tells us William was born on May 29th,
1892. His father Robert is described on the certificate as a
labourer. His relatives also have William’s Great War medals.
William’s widowed mother Elizabeth heard about her son’s
death in a letter from the tank commander, 2/Lt Frank Heap. He tried
to dull the pain with kind words. Part of the letter was quoted in a
death notice in the Belfast Evening Telegraph: “Your son was the
life and soul of my crew, doing two men’s work and cheering us all
up. He kept us in shrieks of laughter right up to the moment of his
death, and died with a laugh on his lips, like the true Irish
gentlemen he was”.