Bridge of Weir

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20095 Private William McClure

7th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

killed in action 11th November 1916

aged 34

Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery

Cooperative Terrace, Bridge of Weir
Son of David McClure and Jane Beaton
Husband of Annie Clewes.

His Life

William McCLure was born on 29th June 1882 at 112 Dempster Street, Greenock, the third of a family of four sons born to David McClure, a stonemason from Glasgow, and Jane Beaton, from Greenock, who had married at 5 Brachelston Street, Greenock on 20th June 1879. David’s father, also David, had come to Scotland from Northern Ireland and worked as a quarryman. In 1861 David and his wife Mary McKinlay were living in Burnbrae Street, Houston with their three surviving sons, William, Stewart and David. The family later moved to Greenock where David senior had a position as a quarry foreman, and remained there till moving to Bridge of Weir sometime before 1891.

After David junior and Jane married they had twin boys, David and Alfred. In 1881 they were living in 1 Prospect Hill, Greenock. Both parents, David and Jane, died in 1887, within a month of each other. As often happened in such circumstances, the boys were taken in by their grandparents.

In 1891 William (8) was living with his three brothers David, Alfred and Stewart in Rankine’s Land, Bridge of Weir with his grandparents David and Mary McClure. Their uncle Stewart, a joiner, was also in the family home.

In 1901, David, Alfred and young Stewart were still living with their uncle Stewart in Cooperative Terrace, Bridge of Weir. David was a joiner, Alfred a stone hewer and young Stewart a van boy. William (18) was lodging with brother and sister, William and Jane Massie, in Ladeside, Bridge of Weir and he was working as a ploughman.

On 3rd June 1904, William, now a quarryman, married Annie Clewes, daughter of William Clewes, a cloth lapper, and Annie McLean in Howwood, Renfrewshire. Annie was a bleachfield worker. In 1905 William and Annie were living in Cooperative Terrace, Bridge of Weir.

In August 1915, William volunteered and enlisted in Coatbridge where he joined the 7th Service Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. The following month William started his basic training at Aldershot and he sailed from Southampton Docks to Le Havre on the SS Mona’s Queen on 18th February 1916.

The 7th Inniskillings formed part of the 49th Brigade, 16th (Irish) Division. By 3rd March they were holding part of the line in the Loos sector of the Western Front. On 27th April they were involved in some fierce, hand to hand fighting at Hulluch in the Pas de Calais where there was a heavy use of gas. Despite serious losses the Battalion continued to serve on the front line near Loos before they were moved to the Somme in September.

The Somme offensive had started on 1 July 1916 and by September both sides had suffered huge losses. The 7th Inniskillings were pitched into the action at Guillemont on 3rd September and fought at Ginchy six days later incurring serious casualties. On 12th September the remnants of the 16th (Irish) Division were transferred to the southern section of the Ypres Salient holding the Kemmel Trenches. William McClure, survivor of the Somme, was killed in action on 11th November 1916, leaving Annie a widow. He is buried near where he fell in the Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery.

William’s younger brother Stewart enlisted in the 5th Battalion of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) later transferring to the 6th Battalion and had a distinguished military career winning the Military Medal. He died in 1961. Another brother David became an air mechanic/carpenter in the Royal Flying Corps.


1881 Census 1891 Census 1901 Census 1911 Census Birthplace
Name Age Name Age Name Age Name Age
David1 David*11David*21Greenock, Renfrewshire
Alfred1 Alfred*11Alfred*21Greenock, Renfrewshire
Wm*8William*18 Greenock, Renfrewshire
Stewart*6Stuart*16Greenock, Renfrewshire

* = not in David and Jane McClure's family home - see text for details


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