Private William John Armstrong



William John Armstrong was born on 4 March 1897 at Wolfhill Lane, Ligoniel, Belfast, the third of eight children of carter (later farm labourer) Samuel Armstrong and his wife Agnes Jane (née Henderson). At the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Old Park, Belfast, with his parents, siblings and half-sister.

Armstrong enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron on 23 November 1914 (No. UD/184). On 6 October 1915 he embarked for France with his squadron, which was then serving as divisional cavalry to the 36th (Ulster) Division.

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 41152.

Armstrong was wounded in the left arm in early December 1917 in the fighting south of Marcoing during the Battle of Cambrai. Evacuated for treatment to Etaples, it is not known at present whether he was able to rejoin his unit later in the war.

On 16 February 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

Armstrong emigrated to Australia in March 1923. He married Ilma Martha Pearl Harlock in Colac, Victoria, on 20 January 1926.

During the Second World War he served in the 3rd Garrison Battalion of the Australian Army (No. V/92152).

He died on 29 January 1956 and was buried in the Colac Cemetery.




Images of Armstrong sourced from Public Member Trees – contributor Cathy Walker. Cemetery image sourced from the Billion Graves website.


This page last updated 23 June 2023.