Private Thomas Kerr


Thomas Kerr was born on 10 May 1896 at Grogey, Brookeboro, County Fermanagh, the first of twelve children of labourer (later gamekeeper and herd) Henry Kerr and his wife Rhoda (née Anderson). At the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Doogary, Corralongford, County Fermanagh, at the farm of John Adams and his family, where he worked as a farm labourer. His family lived at nearby Derrynavogy.

Kerr enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron between 19 February and 3 March 1915 (No. UD/218). 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 Kerr, 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. Kerr was issued regimental number 41162 and was posted to B Company.

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

Kerr was captured on 27 March 1918 at Erches, near Roye, at the end of the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin during the German spring offensive, when much of the battalion was overwhelmed by the fast-moving German advance. He remained a prisoner until the end of the war, held at camps including Güstrow in Germany. He was repatriated in early December 1918.

On 24 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

By 1921 Kerr was living at 27 Birch Street, Bradford, Lancashire, and working as a furnace man. On 19 January that year he married Maggie Edna Verner Montgomery in Christ Church, Bradford. The couple later lived in Belfast.

Kerr died on 8 August 1976 and was buried in Roselawn Cemetery, Belfast.



Image sourced from the Find-a-Grave website.


This page last updated 15 February 2023.