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William Gillies (1880-1916)

Stockton man served as a trimmer in the Royal Naval Reserve

William Gillies was born on 27 September 1880 in Stockton-on-Tees. His father was also called William Gillies (1855-1938), a shipyard plater born in Scotland. His mother was Ellen Parkes (1857) from Ireland. She also appears in records with the first name Helen and Helena. His parents married in 1878 in Middlesbrough. The 1911 census records that during their marriage up to that point they had 11 children of whom eight were surviving. This gave William junior five surviving brothers and two sisters.

The 1881 census records the Gillies family living at 6 Nicholson Street, Thornaby-on-Tees. In 1891 they were living at 13 Raby Street, Linthorpe, Middlesbrough. The 1901 shows them at 4 Carroll Street, Stockton-on-Tees. At this time, William was working as a shipwork’s labourer.

William was a member of the Royal Naval Reserve. When war broke out he served as a trimmer with the service number 1562/ST. In December 1916 he was serving in the Aegean Sea on motor lighter K39, serving the depot ship HMS St George. Motor lighters were an early form of landing craft and those with a ‘K’ prefix were used for landing troops, horses, field guns and stores.

William’s death is recorded as being 31 December 1916. There are different causes of death recorded for William, including drowning and being found dead in bed. He was originally buried in Naval and Military Cemetery No2, Stavros, West Shore of Gulf of Orfano, Macedonia. This graveyard was later concentrated into a larger one and his body now rests in Mikra British Cemetery, Salonika, Greece in grave number 1903.

William Gillies was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his service in World War One. His medals were issued to his brother.

Civil Parish: Stockton on Tees

Birth date: 27-Sep-1880

Death date: 31-Dec-1916

Armed force/civilian: Navy

Residence: 6 Nicholson Street, Thornaby-on-Tees (1881 census)
13 Raby Street, Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, Yorkshire (1891 census)
4 Carroll Street, Stockton-on-Tees (1901 census)

Employment: Shipwork’s labourer (1901 census)

Family: Parents: William Gillies (1855-1938), Ellen Gillies nee Parkes (1857)
Siblings: Alexander Gillies (1879), Mary Jane Gillies (1884), James Gillies (1886), John George Gillies (1888), Susan Gillies (1890), Samuel Gillies (1894), Robert Gillies (1898)

Military service:

Royal Naval Reserve
HMS St George (motor lighter K39)

Medal(s): 1914-15 Star
Victory Medal
British War Medal

Memorial(s): Mikra British Cemetery, Salonika, Greece (grave number 1903)

Gender: Male

Contributed by David D, Stanley, Co Durham

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