Sergeant Arthur McKane


Arthur McKane was born on 14 April 1870 at Ballykelly. Banbridge, County Down, one of at least seven children of blacksmith Robert McKane and his wife Frances (née McIlvoy).

On 11 July 1893 at Belfast he enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons (No.3370). On 22 May 1896 he was promoted to shoeing smith, and on 17 June 1899 to corporal shoeing smith. He served in South Africa in the Boer War from November 1901 to March 1902, and in Egypt from May 1906 to May 1907, when he was permitted a discharge through the illness of his wife and family, who had been unable to join him. His military character was recorded as 'very good'.

McKane had been married – to Mary McGlone – in the Roman Catholic Chapel of the Sacred Heart in Belfast on 25 December 1904. The couple had seven children over the next seventeen years. Following his discharge he worked as a labourer in Belfast. At the time of the 1911 Census he was living with his wife, children and a brother at 5 Connswater Street, and working as a trimmer.

McKane re-enlisted, in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron, between 14 and 25 August 1915 (No. UD/278 – later Corps of Hussars No.21281). No doubt as a result of his previous military experience, he was given the rank of squadron sergeant.

The squadron, which had been formed as divisional cavalry for the 36th (Ulster) Division, embarked for France on 6 October 1915. McKane embarked the following day. It is not clear whether he subsequently remained with the squadron or had been attached to another part of the Division.

In March 1918 he was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps (No.139753). He remained with that regiment until discharged on 18 June 1920, being 'no longer physically fit for war service' (paragraph 392(xvi), King's Regulations).

Following his discharge from the army McKane lived with his family at 90 Havana Street, Belfast, and worked as a motorman. He died in Belfast on 5 May 1938.


This page last updated 31 August 2023.