Private Alexander Linton


Alexander Linton was born on 10 October 1893 at Knockans, Finvoy, County Antrim, the second of eight children of farmer James Linton and his wife Agnes (née Gregg). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at nearby Dowgry with his parents and his six surviving siblings, and working on the family farm.

Linton enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 17 and 27 May 1916 (No.2176) (although a report in the Ballymena Observer at the time states that he had enlisted in the 4th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France around January 1917. There he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Linton, 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 five days later. Linton was issued regimental number 41448 and posted to C Company.

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

Linton was one of the many posted as missing following the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive. It was later learned that he had been captured on 27 March at Erches, near Roye, when much of the battalion had been overwhelmed by the fast-moving German advance. He remained a prisoner until the end of the war, held at camps at Fresnoy-le-Grand, Dülmen and Diedenhofen.

After his repatriation Linton returned to farming at Dowgry. On 25 June 1919 he married Margaret Adams in the Second Broughshane Presbyterian Church, County Antrim. He died at his home at Dunminning, Glarryford, on 19 January 1951.