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Soldier Profile – Private John Cantillon

Name & Rank: 

Private John Cantillon 

Black and white printed image of WWI soldier with moustache

John Cantillon from De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour.

Regimental Number:


Birth date & Location:

1885 in Limerick, Ireland 




Family Profile: 

John was one of 10 children born in Limerick, Ireland to John and Elizabeth Cantillon.  He married Bridget Kiely in 1904 and they lived in rented rooms in various locations with their growing family.  John worked as a housepainter and eventually they had six children: James Joseph, Christy John, Partick Joseph, William, Christina Carolina, and Bridget Teresa.  During his life in Limerick, John had trouble with the law and was in and out of Ireland’s Petty Court Sessions for years as both a complainant and defendant.* John enlisted with the 8th Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment on December 18, 1914 in Worthing, Surrey, and disembarked for France on August 31, 1915 when his youngest child was only 4 months old.  Less than a month later, Cantillon was in the Battle of Loos.   

Service Profile: 

According to De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour Cantillon’s companions in B Company noticed that he was missing while they attempted to take German trench on 26 September, under heavy, sweeping machine gun fire on Hill 70 south of Hulluch.  As with many unclear fatalities from the Battle of Loos, his date of death is listed in many records as 25 September 1915 – the date that the Battle started.

Death date & Location:

25/26 September 1915 about a kilometer west of Vermelles, France. 

Link to CWGA entry

Links to OA records accessed:

De Ruvignys Roll of Honour

*While there are many entries for a “John Cantillon” in the Ireland, Petty Session Court Registers, there appear to be at least three men with that name living in Limerick contemporaneously with Private Cantillon.  Research using publicly accessible family trees on show evidence that many of the addresses listed a defendant, John Cantillon, were the same as addresses where his children were born.  Unfortunately, not all the information found in the family tree listings is cited or linked to specific documents.  The Petty Court Registers document various types of offenses and disputes among neighbors and family members.