William McGrane Private 5450 - 1st Bn. Irish Guards Killed in action on Tuesday 16th March 1915 Buried in Guards Cemetery, Cuinchy, Pas-de-Calais, France William McGrane was born in Warrington in 1893 to John McGrane from Dublin, aged 33, and Jessie from Gnosall Heath, about the same age. Jessie was the daughter of John & Annie Armstrong. In 1881 Jessie, her widowed mother and four younger siblings (all their first names beginning with A) were living at Coton End. Jessie was working as a servant and her mother as a dressmaker. She married John McGrane at St Helens, Lancashire in 1889 and in 1891 they were at Pemberton’s Yard, Warrington, where John worked as a cabinetmaker’s porter. In 1901 they were at Sloop Yard, Sankey, Warrington and John was a labourer at the leadworks; William was 9, with a younger brother, and two sisters. By 1911 John was unemployed (general labourer) and the family was at 154 Evelyn Street, Warrington with cousin John Sylvester, aged 38, from Gnosall Heath (labouring for a soap manufacturer), sister Agnes, now 13, working as a nursemaid and brother John. William, 18, was working as a carter (contractor). He enlisted in Gnosall as Private 5450 in the 1st Battalion Irish Guards (who had been stationed at Wellington), and went to France with them on 4 th  February 1915. He was killed in action on Tuesday 16 th  August 1915 and was awarded 1915 Star, Victory and British medals. William McGrane is buried in the Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, Pas-de- Calais, France, I. D. 16. He is listed in the appendix to Volume II of Rudyard Kipling’s book “The Irish Guards in the Great War”. Kipling wrote this tribute to the regiment in memory of his son John, also an Irish Guardsman, who died at Loos a month after William.
Guards Cemetery, Cuinchy, Pas-de-Calais, France Historical Information A little west of the crossroads known to the army as 'Windy Corner' was a house used as a battalion headquarters and dressing station. The cemetery grew up beside this house. The original cemetery is now Plots I and II and Rows A to S of Plot III. It was begun by the 2nd Division in January 1915, and used extensively by the 4th (Guards) Brigade in and after February. It was closed at the end of May 1916, when it contained 681 graves. After the Armistice it was increased when more than 2,700 graves were brought in from the neighbouring battlefields - in particular the battlefields of Neuve-Chapelle, the Aubers Ridge and Festubert - and from certain smaller cemeteries Guards Cemetery now contains 3,444 burials and commemorations of the First World War. 2,198 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 36 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials commemorate six casualties buried in Indian Village North Cemetery, whose graves were destroyed by shell fire, and five Indian soldiers originally buried in the Guards Cemetery but afterwards cremated in accordance with the requirements of their faith.