2nd Lieutenant Joseph McCausland Gourley


Joseph McCausland Gourley was born on 5 April 1897 or 1898 at Carnshanna, Drumbeg, Co. Donegal, son of farmer James Gourley.

He enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron on 4 March 1915 (No. UD/250) at Eltrington Barracks, Londonderry. On 6 October 1915 he embarked for France with the squadron, which was serving as divisional cavalry to the 36th (Ulster) Divsion.

Gourley was wounded in action on 5 July 1916. According to the squadron diary:

Orders were received from A.P.M. 36th Division at 9 am for the two troops dismounted to report to Capt O'Neill at Lancashire Dump for salvage duty. They carried out this duty bringing in equipment, rifles etc till 1 pm. The men had dinner and were just turning out again when Lieut Seymour received orders from 36th Division to return to Regtl Head Quarters. The men had just started to saddle up when a heavy bombardment of both high explosive, shrapnel & machine guns was concentrated on the Wood. The intensity of the fire necessitated Lt Seymour giving orders for the men to take shelter in some old dugouts & trenches close by. The bombardment lasted for 3/4 of an hour & then slackened but did not entirely stop. Up to now one horse was killed & four wounded. The men were then ordered to saddle up & lead their horses thro' Wood out on to the road and were waiting for the others to join up when the bombardment opened much heavier than previously especially on that part of the road where the men were waiting. Lt Seymour moved off up the road leaving 2/Lt Matthews & Sergt McIlvoy to round up the stragglers in the wood, as by this time horses were very restive and almost unmanagable. Lt Seymour with his party had reached about 1 mile along the road & turned down a lane leaving the horses in charge of Sergt Quinn. Almost immediately a heavy fire was brought to bear on the horses and Sergt Quinn was wounded. The horses stampeded in every direction, some back to Aveluy Wood. Eventually Lt Seymour was able to round up most of this party & got to Senlis. Lieut Matthews & Sergt McIlroy remained behind. Our losses numbered 16 horses killed or wounded and 2 missing. 2/Lt Matthews was wounded severely in the knee from high explosive and Pte Downes, Nicholl, Gourley wounded (hosp) and Ptes Buchanan, 195 Campbell, Totton, 105 Craig, Cpl Dickson, 209 Robinson slightly wounded (duty).

Evacuated to 1/5 Northern General Hospital, Leicester, after his recovery he was posted to the reserve squadron at Enniskillen.

He was promoted to Lance Corporal on 27 December 1916, and on 7 September the following year he was posted to No.11 Officer Cadet Battalion, Pirbright. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on 30 January 1918 and posted to the 12th, later 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

On 14 April 1918 he was appointed to the Indian Army Reserve of Officers. He embarked for India that day. Gourley was released from army service in India on 26 October 1919, though not finally discharged until 1 May 1922.