Ref ID: 1393
Will Book: Private W. Humphries
Hand-written note reading: 'extracted from a Book 64 of No. 5176 Private W Humphries, 1st Bn Royal Irish Fus. Book opened 26.9.14.'
Name: William Humphreys.
Service Number: 5176.
Regiment: Royal Irish Fusiliers.
Born: 24th August 1890, County Down.
Died: 25th April 1915.
Address: 63 Ottawa Street, Belfast
William Humphreys, Son of James and Rachel Humphreys, lived at 63, Ottawa Street, Shankill Road, Belfast.
The 1901 Ireland Census has William living at 1 Magheruna (Waringstown, Down) with his father, occupation, Linen Weaver, mother, House Keeper, 4 sisters, Elizabeth , 16 years, occupation, Vanier, Rachel, 12 years, Maggie, 8 years, Sarah, 4 years, brother John, 14 years, Linen Weaver, and step sister Mary Ann Lyttle, 19 years, Vanier.
The 19011 Ireland Census has William now living at 55 John Street, Lurgan, Armagh, with his mother, father, occupation, Damask Weaver, and brother, John, a Damask Weaver, also with his 3 sisters, Rachel, Maggie and Sarah, a nephew, John Norman White, under 1 year, and a brother in law, Thomas White, 20 years, a Linen Power Loom Weaver. William himself is recognised as a Linen Power Loom Weaver.
William joined the Royal Irish Fusiliers.
He was posted as part of the British Expeditionary Force to France on the 19th September 1914.
William Humphreys was a Private in C Company, 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, when he was Killed in Action near Ypres on the 25th April 1915 aged 24 years
A local newspaper articles states
ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS.
Private William Humphreys, 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, was killed in action in Flanders on 25th April. Deceased was a son of Mr and Mrs Humphreys, 63 Ottawa Street, Belfast, formerly of Lurgan. Prior to being called up on reserve, he was employed at Brookfield Factory. Other relatives live at Copperfield Street, Belfast
A letter William sent to his sisters was replicated within a local newspaper also and reads
LIFE IN THE TRENCHES.
PRIVATE WILLIAM HUMPHRIES.
Royal Irish Fusiliers, 63 Ottawa Street, Belfast, writing on February 16, to his sisters says that he was glad to see by the Pink which he gets every week, that Linfield had a big win over Celtic. As to the state of the trenches at the front, there were pumps for keeping them dry, and he, Private Humphreys, had never a cold or sickness since he went out. One just got used to it the same as everything else. When I go home, he goes on, instead of sleeping inside I will be sleeping in the yard, like the sailor who had to get the water thrown round the windows. The only place he felt the cold was in the feet, but he always managed to get a pair of boots a size larger than what fitted him, and was able to wear two pairs of socks, which helped greatly. Many men were losing their lives, and a great many through carelessness, but any man who saw the condition of the country could not help but fight with determination to put down the enemy. No one knows what the poor civilians have suffered, but two or three months should see a finish of it
Williams family still live within the Greater Shankill Area to this present day
Williams Soldiers Effects were left to his mother.
His Will states the following, In the event of my death I give the whole of my property and effects to my Mother, Rachel Humphries, 64 Ottawa Street, Belfast.
Dependant Application Forms show his mother Rachel as claimant
William received the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 1914 Star
He is Remembered at Menin Gate Memorial, Belgium.
To Remember Is To Honour
Shankill Roll of Honour