Captain James Robert Bargrave Armstrong


Armstrong near St Omer in France, 1915


Born on 6 April 1893, Armstrong was the fourth son of the Rt. Hon. Henry Bruce Armstrong and Margaret Armstrong (nee Leader).

He was commissioned in the North Irish Horse on 15 August 1914, going to France on 25 January 1915 in command of a reinforcement draft for A and C Squadrons.

Armstrong joined A Squadron, which was then serving as escort to General French at the BEF's General Headquarters, St Omer.

He was promoted to lieutenant on 1 July 1915 and soon after, transferred to the 8th Hussars.


Belfast News-Letter, 27 October 1915


In a letter to his father dated 27 August 1915 Armstrong explains his reasons for leaving the North Irish Horse - the cost of the mess and boredom with the squadron role at GHQ:

I have been talking it over with Montgomery & he says he is convinced it couldn’t cost more than this show.  Messing is the only expense & any mess I have been to out here has been a good deal cheaper than ours.  The prospect of another winter at G.H.Q. does not appeal to me very much although there does not seem to be much prospect for any cavalry as you say, but still I think being with regular officers & regular soldiers would be more interesting than this. ... 

If you would write to Bushman I am sure he could get me taken on.  I expect Col. Maude would recommend me all right.  Cole wouldn’t bother his head one way or the other. 

The only reason really why the N.I.H. mess here is more expensive than others is because Cole & Herdman are bent on doing themselves better than any body else also the idea of being permanently at G.H.Q. has led them to laying out capital in the way of table linen, napkins, sheets, putting in a new range in the house.  He also proposes buying curtains for the winter months, but the other things are already paid for. 

Later in the war Armstrong was attached to the Tank Corps, with the rank of acting captain. He was promoted to captain on 26 October 1918.


I am grateful to Mark Armstrong, his grandson, and Rosalind Mulholland, for providing the image of Armstrong.