1782 RIFLEMAN WILLIAM SMYTH
12th Bn Royal Irish Rifles
Interred in Niederzwehren Cemetery, Germany. Plot 2, Row F, Grave 15
William Smyth enlisted at Ballymoney on the outbreak of hostilities and did his early training at Clandeboye in Co. Down. When this part of his training was completed he was taken to Seaford on the south coast of England for final instruction. From here he was taken to France and the small village of Martinsart in preparation for the Battle of the Somme. He was lucky here, getting through this without serious injury. After this the 12th battalion were taken out of the line for re-organisation in the huge camp at St. Omer. From here, after they had done more training, they were sent to Belgium, to the area around Wulverghem. Here they would stay for over a year. In this time they saw much action in minor skirmiches which still took lives the same as major battles. The Battle of Messines was to be their next big undertaking and in this they were extremely successful. Some time around this period William was taken prisoner and was cooped up in very uncomfortable trains on the journey back to prison camp. They eventually arrived at the camp at Niederzwehren, in Germany. They were allowed to write home, but only to say that they were prisoners of war and were being well looked after. The conditions under which they had to live were attrocious and many of them died of disease or malnutrition. It was here that William died on the 9th of June 1918. He is buried in the adjoining cemetery with two other Ballymoney boys. In a grave in the row behind where William is buried lies Bushmills man Arthur Ross who died as a prisoner of war on 23rd August 1918. Plot 2, Row G, Grave 6.