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Donohoe, W.E., Pte., 1916
On the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France, is the name of 26/173 Private William Edward Donohoe, serving with the 26th (Tyneside Irish) Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, who died 01/07/1916.

Morpeth Herald 27/04/1917 carries a brief obituary:

Private W.E. Donohoe, 15 East Row, North Seaton Colliery, missing since July 1st, is now reported killed in action.

Pauline Priano has submitted the following:-

William Edward Donohoe, one of 9 known children, was the 3rd born of 5 sons, he had 3 elder and 1 younger sister. His parents were both born in Northumberland, father Thomas Donohoe in 1852 at Alnwick, where he was baptised, December 5th, mother Eleanor McIntyre at Harbottle in 1854. They were married, June 30th 1872 in the district of Alnwick, where their daughter Ellen was born in 1873, Thomas Jnr 1874, John James 1878 and Esther Elizabeth in 1880. By 1881 they had moved to Dunstan Square, Embleton, Thomas Donohoe was employed as an agricultural labourer. They remained at Embleton for a few years, Eleanor gave birth to William Edward in 1882 and David Henry in 1883, however, the family had returned to Alnwick by 1888 for the birth of George Septimus and lastly Kathleen. Living with them in 1901 at 7, Third Double Row, North Seaton, was their daughter Eleanor, her husband Matthew Turnbull and 2 children, Henry and Lily. Matthew was employed as a tailor, the Donohoe men all worked at the colliery. Thomas as a stoneman, William (19) a hewer, David (17) below ground as a putter and George (15) a driver.

William Edward had married in 1903 in the district of Morpeth to Mary Elizabeth Dawson of Newbiggin, Northumberland born 1882 and with whom by 1911 he had 3 children, Maggie born 1906, Mona 1907 and Stanley 1909. In 1911 they were living at North Seaton Colliery where William was employed as a coal miner/hewer.

The 26th (3rd Tyneside Irish) Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, a Pals Battalion, was raised at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, November 23rd 1914. William Edward was one of the first to enlist at Ashington, assigned as Private 173. The battalion moved to Gateshead in January 1915 for initial training, to Woolsington Park in May 1915, joining the 103rd Brigade, 34th Division at Ripon in June 1915 and moved to Salisbury Plain in late August for final training. They proceeded to France January 10th 1916 via Folkestone, landing at Boulogne, where the Division concentrated at La Crosse, east of St Omer. Entrained at St. Omer they arrived at the village of Blendeques and marched to their billets at Wizemes. Their first front line experience February 10th 1916 took place in the Bois Grenier sector. May 4th the division departed for Amiens and marched to the front lines on the Somme at Armentieres. They left the sector and between May 11th-16th the 26th Battalion was in the trenches near La Boisselle leading the trench raids against the German lines. They were in action during the Battles of the Somme, July 1st near Becourt Wood, at the end of the day the battalion had lost 8 officers killed, 11 wounded and amongst the ranks 148 killed and 322 wounded.

Private 26/173 William Edward Donohoe Northumberland Fusiliers was one of the fatalities of the first day, July 1st 1916. His sacrifice is recorded as one of the 72,338 names inscribed on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, Thiepval, France, commemorating men of the British and South African forces who died on the Somme before March 20th 1918 and who have no known grave.

His widow received all monies due to him, a pension for herself and their children and his awards of the British War Medal and Victory Medal, sent to her at their home address in Ashington, Northumberland.

William Edward’s younger brothers also served during WW1. Private George Septimus Donohoe who had married his wife’s sister Margaret Ann Dawson died, “at home”, March 3rd 1918, his brother Private David Donohoe was killed in action, October 14th 1918, in Belgium.

In God’s safe keeping. Rest In Peace.

William Edward Donohoe is remembered in Ashington on A17.22 and A17.43 in North Seaton on N33.03 and at Tynemouth in T36.14 pages 1-20

The CWGC entry for Private Donohoe

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk