Lost Cousins: Corporal William MCCLAY (1890-1918)

Badge of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (IWM)

img_2851-copyCpl William MCCLAY, MM, 21202, 1st Bttn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was killed in action on 22 Mar 1918. He is commemorated at the Pozieres Memorial in the Somme region of France.

William MCCLAY was born in Londonderry and was the eldest of seven children. Before the war, he was a flour miller. Several of his brothers and cousins also signed up with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, and one, Thomas MCCLAY, was awarded the DCM.

Cpl MCCLAY was killed on the second day of the German Spring Offensive of 1918, at the Battle of St Quentin. He had been awarded the Military Medal, for ‘bravery in battle on land’, the week before his death.

Cpl MCCLAY is also commemorated in Derry’s Diamond War Memorial Project.


William MCCLAY was born on 6 Oct 1890 in the Waterside area of Londonderry, to parents Thomas Finlay MCCLAY and Elizabeth (Lizzie) KIDD. On 16 May 1912, William married Martha CAMPBELL (c.1895-1939) at Ebrington Presbyterian Church in Derry. They had 3 children:

  • John Campbell (1912-76)
  • Elizabeth Jane (b.1913)
  • Martha (b.1915)

(Photograph from the collections of the Imperial War Museums © IWM (INS 5699))


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