Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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6975630   Fusilier William James Gillespie
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 16/02/2020
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers (British Army)
Date Of Birth: 17/03/1907
Died: 19/05/1940 (Killed in Action)
Age: 33
Summary      
William James Gillespie was the son of Thomas and Alice Gillespie. He was born on 17th March 1907 in Fivemiletown. His father was a tailor. He was one of nine children. His mother died when he was eleven. William was the husband of Margaret Gillespie. Fusilier William James Gillespie was serving with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers when he was killed in action in Belgium on 19th May 1940 during the retreat to Dunkirk.
Fusilier William James Gillespie
Further Information
William James Gillespie was the son of Thomas and Alice Gillespie. Thomas Gillespie and Sarah Mackins were married on 4th April 1902 in the district of Dungannon.
William James Gillespie was born on 17th March 1907 in Fivemiletown. His birth details record that his parents were living in the Ballyrodden area. Thomas Gillespie was a tailor. He was one of nine children.
Known family: Thomas Gillespie, Alice Gillespie, Thomas John Gillespie (born about 1902), Isabella Jane Gillespie (born 8th March 1903, Clogher), Robert George Gillespie (born 11th May 1904, Tempo), Sarah Anne Gillespie (born 26th June 1905, Tempo), William James Gillespie (born 17th March 1907, Fivemiletown), Allan Gillespie (born 25th December 1908, Fivemiletown), Albert Mark Gillespie (born 21st May 1910, Brookeborough), Samuel Gillespie (born 8th November 1914, Brookeborough), Herbert Gillespie (born 6th September 1916, Brookeborough).
The 1911 census lists William James as age 4, living with the family at house 1 in Tattynuckle. Corralongford, County Fermanagh.
Williamís mother died on 24th November 1918. William was eleven years old.
William was the husband of Margaret Gillespie.
Photo of courtesy of Ian Gillespie
William James Gillespie served with the Royal Irish Fusiliers in World War Two.
The Royal Irish Fusiliers were part of the rear guard actions during the retreat towards the beaches at Dunkirk. During these actions Billy was initially believed to be missing.
Fusilier William James Gillespie was serving with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers when he was killed in action in Belgium on 19th May 1940.
From the Impartial Reporter dated 17th July 1941: Roll of Honour
GILLESPIE - Killed in action in Belgium, May 1940, previously reported missing, William James Gillespie, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, fifth son of the late Thomas and Alice Gillespie, Fivemiletown.
Fusilier William Gillespie is buried at the Heverlee Military Cemetery at Leuven to the East of Brussels.
Williamís brothers David and Samuel also served in World War Two. Both survived the war.
Fusilier William Gillespie is commemorated locally on Fivemiletown War Memorial.
The CWGC record Fusilier William James Gillespie as the son of Thomas and Alice Gillespie. He is also recorded as the husband of Margaret Gillespie of Belfast.
Many thanks to Mark Byers, author of the Fivemiletown War Dead book, for the information and images provided.
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Relevant Dungannon Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Tattynuckle, Fivemiletown Fivemiletown Census listing in Tattynuckle 54.358543 -7.346237
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1911 Census lists 'Gillispie' family Lists the family at house 1 in Tattynuckle, Corralongford, Fermanagh
2 Corporal Thomas Alexander Lynn Nephew of Fusilier William Gillespie
3 Facebook - Fivemiletown History Details and photos of Fusilier William J Gillespie
4 Facebook - Heverlee Cemetery Details and photos of Fusilier William J Gillespie
5 FindAGrave.com Photo of Fusilier William J Gillespie's gravestone
6 War Graves Photographic Project Photo of Fusilier William J Gillespie's gravestone can be purchased here
7 WW2 NI Details and photos of Fusilier William J Gillespie
Dungannon District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2015-2020