Lieutenant William Moorhead Hunter


William Moorhead Hunter was born at Sunderland, County Durham, on 18 August 1894, the third of seven children of Irish-born parents, physician Mitchell Godfrey Hunter and his wife Jennie (née Moorhead). The family settled in Magherafelt, County Londonderry, around 1897. By the time of the 1911 Census, William was living at 20 Victoria Terrace, Portstewart, with his mother, five of his siblings and an uncle. (His father and seventh sibling were living at Magherafelt.) When the war began he was living at Laurel Villa, Magherafelt, and employed as a bank clerk.

Hunter enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 6 December 1915 (No.2020). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp until November 1916, when he and around 100 other North Irish Horsemen volunteered to transfer to the Royal Irish Rifles. The formal transfer took place on 7 December (Hunter was issued regimental number 40843), and on that day the men embarked for France. There they were posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, joining it on the Somme front on 12 December.

Two weeks later Hunter applied for a commission in the infantry. He left for officer training in England on 2 January 1917, reporting for duty at No.20 Officer Cadet Battalion, Crookham, the following month.

On 30 May 1917 Hunter was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant and posted to the 10th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. On 21 August 1917 he transferred to the North Irish Horse, reporting for duty at the reserve depot at Antrim.

More than a year later, Hunter again embarked for France, joining the North Irish Horse Cyclist Regiment in the field at Poix-du-Nord on 1 November 1918. The Armistice was signed ten days later. He was promoted to lieutenant on 29 December 1918.

Hunter was posted to IV Corps Cyclist Battalion on 19 March 1919. He was put in charge of a company and made acting captain from 1 April to 9 June. IV Corps became part of the Army of Occupation in Germany and Hunter served there with the Army Cyclist Corps from 21 June to 31 October 1919. He then returned to England and was demobilised on 1 November. He relinquished his commission on 1 April 1920.

After the war Hunter emigrated to East Africa. On 16 March 1925 he married Lena Bruce of Belfast in the Mombassa Cathedral.


Hunter's brother, Joseph Whiteside Hunter, also served in the North Irish Horse during the war.