William John McNabney served in the Royal Engineers, Ulster Division during World War One. He died during the Second World War after suffering from his war injuries for many years.
Born on 1st October 1883 he was the son of Robert McNabney and Margaret McNabney of Ballymena, Co. Antrim. His siblings were Sarah McNabney born on 4th March 1885, Jane McNabney born on 9th January 1887, Keziah McNabney born on 4th March 1890, Minnie McNabney born on 20th July 1892. The family lived at 52 Ohio Street, Belfast, Co. Antrim according to the 1911 Irish Census before William moved from Ballymena to Belfast, Co. Antrim.
He married Margaret Walker on 11th September 1912 in Crumlin Road Methodist Church. The couple had 3 children, Ernest Harold William McNabney born on 2nd December 1912, Thomas John McNabney born on 30th December 1914, and Myra Agnes McNabney born on 1st January 1919. William was a carpenter or a joiner before the war.
In October 1915, he joined the Royal Engineers, Ulster Division and departed for France. There, he took part in the Battle of the Somme.
After World War One, he ran a timber yard at the Crumlin Road end of Cliftonpark Avenue, Belfast, Co. Antrim. He also built houses on Serpentine Road off the Antrim Road, Belfast, Co. Antrim and in Larne, Co. Antrim. The McNabney family later lived at 158 Cliftonpark Avenue, Belfast, Co. Antrim.
Because of injuries sustained during the First World War, he spent long periods of his later life in the Ulster Volunteer Force Hospital.
William died on 6th January 1941 aged 57 years old at the UVF Hospital at Craigavon House, Belfast, Co. Antrim. The given cause of death was “war wounds sustained in The Great War”. His son Thomas McNabney died less than 6 months earlier on 4th July 1940 on board HMS Foylebank in Portland Bill during the Battle of Britain.
William John McNabney’s grave is in Section A, Grave 750 of Belfast City Cemetery, Belfast, Co. Antrim. The funeral took place on 9th January 1941.