Second Lieutenant William Samuel Baird Ross - died 21/3/1918
15th Royal Irish Rifles
William was killed in action on 21st March 1918, when the Germans launched the Spring Offensive, the Kaiserschlacht.
The battalion war diary for 1st to 20th March is missing - the comment for the 21st is as follows:
"The diary now deals with the movements of the Battalion details which consisted of transport, personnel of quartermaster's stores, personnel left out of action, other ranks arriving back from leave, and from hospital, together with a draft of 100 other ranks which arrived today. The battalion itself was gone, killed wounded and prisoners . Captain PM Miller MC commanded the little party."
50 other ranks of the battalion died that day, and two officers, William and Second Lieutenant Edmund De Wind of Comber, who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions that day. The battalion were defending Racecourse Redoubt, near the village of Grugies, to the south of Saint Quentin, when the German artillery opened at 4.35am, with the assault on the battalion beginning at 9.40am. Throughout the day the battalion's trenches were overrun until, as described above, the battalion was gone.
William is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial (panel 74 to 76), Somme, France
Second Lieutenant William Matthew Seymour - died 16/8/1917
10th Royal Irish Fusiliers
William was born on 4th October 1896 in Belfast, the son of William and Lydia Seymour of 56 Glen Road, Andersonstown, Belfast. On leaving Inst, he was a member of the Queen's University Officer Training Corps from 1st November 1915 to 21st January 1916 and was working as a bank clerk when he enlisted with the 10th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, a reserve battalion. He received his commission on 19th December 1916.
William transferred to the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers and was killed in action on 16th August 1917, the date of the Battle of Langemarck (3rd Ypres). Private Brady of the battalion reported:
"He was in command of VIII platoon. He was a young man and I knew him well; he was fair and very nice and well liked by everyone. I saw him during the attack; we were well over the ridge to the left of St Julien. I was only 10 yards off him when I saw him killed outright by a piece of shrapnel. I was wounded very shortly afterwards. I have heard since that we took our objective that morning but got driven back again, so perhaps the Germans would get his body."
William is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial (panel 140 to 141), Flanders, Belgium.
Second Lieutenant George Stanley Sinclair - died 28/5/1917
5th Royal Irish Rifles attached 1st Battalion
George was born on 24th April 1897, the son of the late Samuel and Edith Mary Sinclair (nee Darbishire) of "Inglewood", Adelaide Park, Belfast. Samuel Sinclair has been a governor of Inst.
He was educated at Castle Park, Dublin, Inst and Queen's University Belfast, where he was a medical student and a member of the Officer Training Corps. He applied for a commission with the 5th Royal Irish Rifles on 20th April 1915, joining the 1st battalion on 5th July 1916.
On 18th February 1917, George led a patrol of 20 men into the village of Moislains, north of Peronne, capturing it in the process. He had previously been wounded during an attack on 23rd January 1916.
He died of wounds, aged 20, on 28th May 1917, while in camp in Nurlu, north east of Peronne, while in the course of instructing battalion bombers. 3 other ranks were wounded in the incident. Witnesses reported that Rfn Abraham had drawn his arm back to throw a bomb, when his arm caught on Rfn Neill's sleeve. The lever flew off the bomb, but Abraham still had the bomb in his hand and it exploded. Shortly afterwards there was a second explosion. George was found stooped against the traverse, badly wounded in the face and chest. From the position in which George was lying "it seemed as if he had made an attempt to pick up something".
A court of enquiry decided that George was not to blame for the accident; hoever the brigade commander wrote that instructions for Bombing Training had not been followed. The battalion adjutant, Lt Whitfield, considered that George has died "saving another man's life really" and that "he was a charming fellow and never cared a damn. I was awfully sorry to have lost him"
The June 1917 edition of School News reported that "no boy was a greater favourite with his schoolfellows, for he was modest, manly and public-spirited, with a really fine sense of humour, and a vein of romance in his nature. The chaplain who conducted the short and touching service at his grave in the little parish churchyard in France was also an old Instonian, Rev J Hamilton of Helen's Bay.""
George was originally buried in Nurlu British Cemetery but was re-buried in Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension (ref V M 13), Somme, France.
Second Lieutenant Gordon Dill Long Smyth - died 16/8/1917
13th Royal Irish Rifles
Gordon was born on 10th March 1896, the son of F D Smyth, 111 University Street, Belfast. After attending Inst, he was a cadet in the Queen's University Belfast Officer Training Corps.
He was killed in action, aged 21, on 16th August 1917 at the Battle of Langemarck (3rd Ypres).
Gordon is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial (panel 138 to 140), Flanders, Belgium.
Second Lieutenant Robert Oliver Stanley - died 9/4/1916
12th Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Robert was born on 8th January 1890. After Inst, he was working as a warehouseman when he enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers on 17th September 1914. He joined the Queen's University Officer Training Corps, with, according to his application for a commission in 1915, one year's "efficient" service. At the time, he was living at "Hillview", Knockbreda Road, Belfast.
He subsequently joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and sailed on the H.T. "Briton", arriving in Basra on 28th February 1916. He was reported as missing, believed killed in action in Mesopotamia on 9th April 1916.
Robert is commemorated on the Basra Memorial (panel 15), Iraq.