Second Lieutenant Henry Tottenham Armstrong


Armstrong (right) with his brother Jack


Henry Tottenham Armstrong was born on 29 October 1897 at Artclea, Fivemiletown, County Tyrone, the fifth of nine children of farmer Henry Tottenham Armstrong and his wife Elizabeth (née Armstrong). At the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Artclea with his parents and five of his seven surviving siblings. From October 1912 he worked as a clerk for the Clogher Valley Railway in Aughnacloy, County Tyrone.

Armstrong enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron at Enniskillen on 10 November 1914 (No. UD/162). On 6 October 1915 he embarked for France with the squadron, which was then serving as divisional cavalry to the 36th (Ulster) Division.

On 14 January 1916 he was fined 7 days pay for neglect of duty when room orderly. On 15 May 1917 he was severely reprimanded for “when on active service [being] drunk on the line of march”.

In June 1916 the Inniskilling squadron joined with C and F Squadrons of the North Irish Horse to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps. In August-September 1917 the Regiment was disbanded and its men, following training at the 36th (Ulster) Division Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Armstrong, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt. Armstrong was issued regimental number 41122 and posted to A Company.

Nine days later, however, he applied for a commission in the infantry. On 8 February 1918 he reported for duty at the No.7 Officer Cadet Battalion at Fermoy. After training there he was assessed as having a fair standard of education, and good military knowledge and power of command and leadership. He was "An excellent Cadet. Good type."

On 26 June 1918 Armstrong was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant and posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. In July, however, he was seconded to the Royal Air Force, commencing flight training at the School of Aeronautics in Reading on 13 September.

In April 1919 Armstrong returned to the Royal Irish Fusiliers. He then served with the 8th North Russian Rifles in the campaign against the Bolsheviks. He was released from duty on 9 October 1919 and relinquished his commission on 1 September 1921.

At some point, perhaps during the Russian campaign, he was Mentioned in Despatches.

Armstrong died in Belfast on 16 May 1981. He was buried in St John's Church Cemetery, Fivemiletown, County Tyrone.



According to Nick Metcalfe in his work Blacker's Boys, Armstrong's younger brother, Captain John Andrew Armstrong, served with the Royal Regiment of Artillery in the Second World War; he was evacuated from Dunkirk and was later Mentioned in Despatches.


First image sourced from Public Member Trees - contributor Patsy McCaffrey. Second image sourced from the Ireland Genealogy Page website.


This page last updated 7 April 2023.