William Byrne, Private DM2/206750, 1st Reserve Mechanical Transport Company, G.H.Q., Royal Army Service Corps
Died of pneumonia 6th December 1918 in France, aged 37
William Byrne was baptised on 2 September 1882 at St Paul’s Church, Macclesfield, the son of Martha and Henry Byrne, a bootlace maker of 8 Goodwin Green. In 1891, eight-year-old William was living at 42a Sunderland Street with his parents and siblings Harry (6) and James (2); by 1901 the family had moved to 42 Davenport Street, Macclesfield, and William was employed as a general labourer.
On 26 July 1902 William married Laura Annie Swaine at St Paul’s Church, and in 1911 the couple lived at 38 Davenport Street with their three daughters: Annie, Kathleen and Laura. William was employed as a stationary gas engine driver, while his wife was a silk power loom weaver. A son, William, was born in 1913.
Before enlistment, William was employed as an engineman at the Sunderland Street Shoe and Slipper Works.
William’s daughter Annie died at the family home on 2 February 1918.
Unfortunately little is known about Private Byrne’s service. He enlisted in August 1916, joining the Army Service Corps, and trained at Hounslow.
Private Byrne died of pneumonia on 6 December 1918.
Private William Byrne is buried at Cambrin Military Cemetery, France, in grave ref. P. 48. His widow asked for the inscription “THY WILL BE DONE” to be added to his headstone. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private William Byrne, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Private William Byrne is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall and St Michael’s Church war memorials. The floral tributes laid when the Macclesfield Park Green War Memorial was unveiled on 21 September 1921 included ones with the words “In loving memory of our brother, Private W. Byrne, and brother-in-law Private J. Hawkin, from Mr and Mrs Byrne” “In loving memory of Private William Byrne, from his loving wife… Laura” and “In memory of Private W Byrne, from his sister and brother.”
Brother of Harry Byrne, who served as Gunner 103140 with the Royal Garrison Artillery and was recorded in 1918 as an absent voter of 32 Brown St, Macclesfield; and James Byrne, who served as Private 240265 with the 431st Labour Corps and was recorded in 1918 as an absent voter of 87 Bank St, Macclesfield.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
Census (England & Wales): 1891, 1901, 1911
Cheshire Parish Baptism Registers (Find My Past): St Paul’s Church, Macclesfield
Cheshire Parish Marriage Registers (Find My Past): St Paul’s Church, Macclesfield
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects
WWI Absent Voters Lists (FindMyPast): Macclesfield Parliamentary Division
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website
Macclesfield Times: 23 September 1921
Macclesfield Courier: 9 September 1916, 9 February 1918, 24 September 1921