Bridge of Weir

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172262 Sapper Walter McWilliam

Army Signals Company G.H.Q., Royal Engineers

died of heatstroke 11th July 1917

aged 33

Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery

Windsor Place, Bridge of Weir
Son of Archibald McWilliam and Annie Graham
Husband of Jessie Robertson Urquhart

His Life

Walter McWilliam was born on 26th December 1882 at 196 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, the third of a family of four born to Archibald McWilliam, an office porter originally from Ireland and Annie Garland Graham, from Campsie, Stirlingshire, who had married in Campsie on 15th December 1871.

In 1881 Archibald (33), Annie (32), and two of their children Archibald Alex and James G were still living in 196 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. Archibald was a mercantile office porter.

In 1891 the McWilliam family of six was at 6 Cambridge Street, Glasgow. Archibald (17) was a postman and James (14) was an office boy. Walter (8) was at school.

By 1901 Annie, head of the family, was living "on her own means" at 62 Garthland Drive, Springburn, Glasgow. Archibald and James were no longer in the family home. Walter (18) was a railway ticket collector and Jessie was a pupil teacher.

In 1911, Annie, a widow, was living in a 3-roomed flat in 330 Cumbernauld Road, Dennistoun, Glasgow, with three of her children, all single. James was a grocer, Walter (28) was an Inspector with the National Telephone Company and Jessie was a teacher.

Walter McWilliam married Jessie Robertson Urquhart (32), by Declaration at 9 East John Street, Glasgow on 29th April 1916. Jessie was a domestic servant and one of twin daughters born to William Scott Urquhart, chemist, and Jeanie Robertson at 10 Middle Street, Dundee on 9th May 1884. Jessie's residence at the time of her marriage was 88 Agnes Street, Glasgow and Walter was still living at 330 Cumbernauld Road. There is a documented link to Bridge of Weir through Walter's older brother, James Graham McWilliam, whose Army Service Record with the Royal Army Medical Corps has his home address as 330 Cumbernauld Road when he took his Oath of Allegiance on 25th November 1915 and as 3 Windsor Place, Bridge of Weir on 28th May 1917 when he was transferred from Army Reserve, and later again as Morton Terrace, Bridge of Weir when he signed his disability clearance form on 26th July 1919. The Freeland Church Record of December 1916 shows that Mrs and Miss Janet MacWilliam [sic], Windsor Place, were received into the Church by transference.

Sapper Walter McWilliam's Medal Index Card does not record when he first joined the theatre of war but he was not awarded the 1914-15 Star. He died of heatstroke on 11th July 1917 serving with the Royal Engineers in Mesopotamia. Fatalities from sickness in that campaign outnumbered war casualties by three to one. He is buried in Baghdad, Iraq, formerly the headquarters of the Turkish Army in Mesopotamia. The city finally fell to the Indian Expeditionary Force 'D' in March 1917, but the position was not fully consolidated until the end of April. Nevertheless, it had by that time become the Expeditionary Force's advanced base, with two stationary hospitals and three casualty clearing stations.


1881 Census 1891 Census 1901 Census 1911 Census Birthplace
Name Age Name Age Name Age Name Age
Archibald Alex7 Archibald A17Glasgow, Lanark
James G4 James G14James34Glasgow, Lanark
Walter8Walter18Walter28Glasgow, Lanark
Jessie6Jessie16Jessie26Glasgow, Lanark


TO CITE THIS PAGE: MLA style: "Bridge of Weir Memorial". Date of viewing. http://www.bridgeofweirmemorial.co.uk/profile-mcwilliam.html