Private William Livingstone


William Livingstone was born on 15 July 1888 at Castleblayney, County Monaghan, the second of five children of grocer William Livingstone and his wife Rachel (nee Fleming). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living with his parents and two siblings at Drumillard, Little Muckno Street, Castleblayney, and working as a grocer's assistant.

Livingstone enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Castleblayney on 11 August 1911 (No.624). He embarked for France with A Squadron on 17 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

On 23 October 1914 he fell ill with rheumatism and within five days was evacuated to the UK, via No.14 General Hospital at Boulogne.

The illness persisted, a medical board held on 19 December 1916 reporting that Livingstone:

States he got severe wettings & had to lie in open in wet clothes. Wt. 11 stones. Both ankles & insteps especially left painful, stiff & swollen. Rt. Hip joint painful & very stiff. Pain in neck & shoulders neck becoming red & swollen especially in wet weather & then pain almost unbearable. Is only able to limp along slowly & painfully. Can put very little weight on the left foot, condition is getting worse.

It concluded that the illness originated in October 1914, was "due to wet & exposure in France on active service", was permanent, and caused 50 per cent disablement.

As a result, on 9 January 1917 Livingstone was discharged, being no longer physically fit for war service (paragraph 392 (xvi) King's Regulations). His military character was recorded as "very good. ... Sober hardworking and thoroughly reliable."

Over the following years Livingstone's condition gradually improved. By the end of 1920 his disablement was rated at 10 per cent.