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William McAlonan


61126 Gunner

81st Battery, 5th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery

Age: 23

Date of Death: 20.3.16

Buried: Menin Road South Military Cemetery I.G.28

Family history: The Brother of Mrs Walter Heeps of Bankside Cottage, California, Polmont. He was a native of Dalry, Ayrshire and before the war was employed as a miner at Fauldhouse.


Although not a resident of Falkirk and District his name is listed on the Polmont War Memorial. Not an uncommon occurrence and it would have been in all likelihood his sister who put him on the memorial list.


He enlisted in Glasgow on 5 January 1915 aged 21 years joining the Royal Artillery. He was posted to the 19 Reserve Battery on 20 January 1915 and then went to France on completion of his training arriving in France on 12 May 1915. He joined the 81st Battery on 23 May 1915. He enjoyed a period of home leave from 8 to 15 January 1916. He was killed on 20 March 1916.


5 Brigade Royal Artillery

This was a regular unit of the pre-war British Army and comprised 64, 73 and 81 Batteries. The Brigade came under the command of the 7th (Meerut) Division of the Indian Army. On the 22 November 1914 the Brigade moved to the 3rd (Lahore) Division. When this division left France the 5 Brigade was transferred to the 3rd Canadian Division in November 1915.


The Brigade then moved to the Canadian 4th Division from September 1916 to July 1917. It then became an Army brigade and served with the British First, Second, Third and Fifth Armies from July 1917 to the end of the War.


The action leading to his death

The Canadian 3rd Division were in the line at St Eloi with the divisional artillery giving fire support. On the 20 March his gun was hit and William along with five of the gun crew were killed by a bursting shell.


His burial was reported by the Reverend A G Wilken attached to the Canadian 8th Infantry Brigade. His burial place was also recorded by the Graves Registration Unit.


Medals Awarded:

1915 Star, The British War Medal, Victory Medal.


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