Around the 1880s, two men named Kilmartin, who had been born in Galway, came to live in Warrington. They were, almost certainly, related. In the autumn of 1887, Patrick Kilmartin married Catherine Toole, a local woman some 20 years his junior. In 1891, the younger man, John Kilmartin, married Bridget Mannion.
Over the years, both couples would have children. Lucy was the oldest daughter of Patrick and Catherine. Our future soldier, William was the son of John and Bridget.
By the time of the 1901 Census, both families had moved to the Stockport area. Patrick worked as a labourer in a brick works and John as a general labourer. Kate was now 17 and working as cotton reeler and William was 8. Another child was the 7 year old Mary. Interestingly, both couples now had daughters called Sabina. One had been born in Warrington and was aged 10. The other, aged 2, had been born in Stockport. It must have been a family name.
Between April and June 1903, Bridget died. John continued to live at the family home of 3 Withens Road, in the Great Portwood Street area of town, with his children. By the time of the Great War, William was working at Lowe's Chemical Works in Reddish and went into town to enlist in September 1914. Virtually all of the new recruits for the 12th Battalion came from Stockport. After training in the south of England, the Battalion went to France in early September 1915.
William's stay in France was very short and, by late October, the Battalion embarked for the Salonika threatre of war in Greece. It would spend the next two years here fighting the Bulgarian Army. On 10 September 1916, William and his comrades went into the front line at Ardzan. On the 19th, the Battalion's War Diary records that men of "B" Company undertook a patrol into No Man's Land towards an enemy position referred to as "Crete des Tentes" and that one man was killed.
William was that man. The Captain commanding "B" Company wrote to his father "His death was instantaneous and occurred when he was close to the enemy's entanglements. He was a brave soldier and a fine man and he met a soldier's death. We all miss him and he will be replaced in this company with great difficulty. I trust that the knowledge that, from the time of joining until the end, he did his duty faithfully and well, will prove some consolation to you."
William will have been buried near to where he was killed. After the war, many of these small frontline burial areas were closed and the bodies re-interred at Karasouli.
William's next of kin is recorded as being his sister, although it is not known if this would have been Mary or Sabina (as their parents have not been established). She had married a John Langley during the war (who was also serving) and was living at the family home.
His relative, Patrick Kilmartin died in 1917. His wife, Catherine died in 1919.