Private Ivan Steven Burke


Ivan Burke was born on 18 September 1895, just after his twin brother Percy, at Tullynacross, Lambeg, County Down. He was the fifth of nine children of blacksmith George Burke and his wife Sarah (née Stevenson). At the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Tullynacross with his parents and his seven surviving siblings.

Burke enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron on 14 November 1914 (No. UD/138). 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 had 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 Burke, 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. Burke was issued regimental number 41123 and posted to A Company.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Burke was posted as missing following the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin in the German spring offensive from 21 to 28 March 1918. He was later learned that he had been wounded. Evacuated to England, as late as October 1918 he was receiving treatment in Netley Hospital.

On 6 February 1919 he was discharged from the army, being 'no longer physically fit for war service' (paragraph 392(xvi), King's Regulations). He was granted a pension due to his wounds, his level of disability assessed at 50 per cent in September 1920 (and 60% two years later).

By 1933 Burke was living at Walshestown, Rahaep, County Down. On 21 June that year he married Lizzie Hughes in St Paul's Roman Catholic Church, Belfast. He died in London on 18 September 1979.


Two of Burke's brothers also served in the war. Sergeant Frederick George Burke of the 11the Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the Somme on 1 July 1916. Ivan's twin brother Corporal Percy Burke of the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on 6 September 1918. His uncle Major Jack Burke, and many of his cousins also served (see articles below).


Lisburn Standard, 11 October 1918


Lisburn Standard, 15 June 1917


Lisburn Standard, 12 May 1916


Lisburn Standard, 12 April 1918


This page last updated 12 February 2023.