• Stephen Callaghan

Clonoghill Stories: Lieutenant Malcolm Willington MC

Robert Malcolm Vernon Willington was born at St Kieran’s, Dorrha, County Tipperary on 13 November 1895.He was the youngest son of James Willington and Alice Willington (née Vernon). James was a barrister and had married Alice in England.


The 1901 census records Robert living with his parents and older brothers Frederick and James Vernon in 1 Lisheen, Rathcabbin, County Tipperary. Also listed with the family are six servants!


Malcolm and his brother Vernon attended Dean Close School in Cheltenham.

Malcolm was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry on 5 May 1915. Later promoted to Lieutenant, he was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in action. The citation for the award appeared in the London Gazette on 18 July 1918, it reads:


'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. On entering the enemy's trench with the leading wave of an attack he encountered five of the enemy. He shot two of them and single handedly captured the remainder. He then quickly cleared out the section of trenches allotted to him, setting his men a fine example of dash and determination'.

Additionally for his campaign service Lieutenant Willington received the British War medal and Victory medal.


His brother James Vernon served with the 6th (Service) Battalion, Leinster Regimentas a Second Lieutenant and was killed in action on 10 August 1915 in Gallipoli.


After the war Malcolm lived in St Kieran’s, Dorrha and then in later life lived in Belfield, Shinrone, County Offaly where he was interested in horse racing. He died on 14 July 1976 at the County Hospital, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. He is still remembered locally in Birr.


Malcolm Willington's grave in Clonoghill Cemetery, Birr.

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