Special Constable William Moulds served in the Canadian Infantry during World War One. In 1940, he reenlisted in what would go on to become the Ulster Home Guard.
Born on 1st July 1891, he was the son of Robert Moulds and Mary Moulds of Colinview, Dunmurry, Co. Antrim. Robert and Mary had twelve children together, two of whom died in infancy.
William Moulds features on the 1911 Irish census, listed as unemployed at the age of twenty years old. At some time in the next two years, he emigrated to Canada.
William Moulds serves in World War One
On 22nd September 1914, he enlisted in the Canadian Infantry at Valcartier, Quebec, Canada. He joined the 1st Canadian Cyclist Corps. They left Canada on the SS Ruthenia, landing in England on 20th October 1914 for further training at Ponds Farm, Salisbury.
The bicycle covered as much ground as a horse but required much less care. Quiet and stealthy, the cyclists trained in musketry, bombing, and use of the Lewis machine gun. Bicycles carried a bedroll on the front and a rifle lashed to the side, in much the same way as horses. Cyclists often acted as traffic control, trench guides, or ambulance carriers.
William survived the First World War. One brother, Thomas, did not. He was posthumously awarded the Military Cross and Bar. After the war, William returned to Ireland, settling back in the Dunmurry area. There he married a woman either named Sarah Jane or Alice Jane.
Moulds joined the Local Defence Volunteers in 1940 with rumours in the country that Hitler planned to invade. The LDV in Great Britain came under the command of the Territorial Army but such an organisation did not yet exist in Northern Ireland. Ulster’s Local Defence Volunteers operated under the Ulster Special Constabulary, or B-Specials.
Accident in Dunmurry
On the night of 7th-8th September 1940, Special Constable William Moulds made his way home on foot after duty. At around 0430hrs, a car struck the Home Guard man near Strathearn House, Finaghy. This grand house now makes up part of Hunterhouse College.
Moulds and his wife lived at 2 Laburnum (Labourer’s) Cottages, Millfort, Dunmurry. He was not too far from home when the accident took place. Lieutenant Ernest John Bloom serving in the Royal Signal Corps was the driver of the offending car. Under blackout conditions, he drove with no lights and did not see Moulds in the darkness. An inquest followed and the story made the pages of the Lisburn Standard and Lisburn Herald on 13th and 14th September 1940.
Special Constable William Moulds’ name features on the war memorial of St. Patrick’s Church of Ireland, Derriaghy, Co. Antrim. His name is listed in the Civilian War Dead section of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database.