Association du tank de Flesquières

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William Galway

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”.