Private Thomas Lowry


The background of this North Irish Horseman and elements of his military service are not clear. He appears to have been born, as Thomas McClarnon, on 11 January 1896 at Dunsilly, County Antrim, to Thomas McClarnon and Ellen Lowery. (On his enlistment form, however, he stated he was born in Ballyhenry, Carnmoney, County Antrim.) At the time of the 1901 Census he was living at 1 Young's Entry, Antrim (with the name Thomas McLernon) with his mother Ellen Lowery, his younger brother Hugh McLernon, his sister Mary Ann Lowery, his grandfather and two aunts. Ten years later he was living at Irishtown, Antrim Rural (with the name Thomas McClamond) with his mother, brother Hugh, and a number of other relatives, and working as an agricultural labourer. It appears that Thomas had a number of half-siblings born between 1901 and 1918, a some of whom died when young. He may also have had an older brother John.

On 9 November 1917 Thomas's mother married North Irish Horseman Robert Smith at the Antrim Church of Ireland Parish Church.

Lowry may have served in the military in the early years of the war. According to his own statements on his service file, he first joined for duty at Randalstown on 22 August 1915, serving in France from October 1915 to January 1916, and was wounded in the left arm in November 1915 and the right leg in January 1916. To date, however, I have been unable to find documents that confirm this. It is possible that he served under a name other than Lowry.

On 19 March 1918 he enlisted at Belfast in the North Irish Horse (in the name of Thomas Lowry). He was issued Corps of Hussars number 72049. After 49 days with the regiment, however, he transferred to the Royal Irish Rifles (No.22656). On 15 June 1918 he embarked for France, where he was posted to the 1st Battalion. (The fact that he was sent to France so soon after enlisting suggests that he had served earlier in the army.)

Lowry was transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers on 14 September 1918 (No.42383). He was posted to the 1st Battalion and attached to D Company. On 1 October he was wounded in the left wrist during the fighting for Hill 41 in Belgium. The battalion's casualties that day were 27 killed, 161 wounded and 61 missing.

Lowry was evacuated to England on 4 October, where he was admitted to the 1st Southern General Hospital in Birmingham. He recovered from his wound and on 3 April 1919 was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. His military character was recorded as 'very good'. Following his discharge he lived at 5 Riverside, Antrim.

A report in the Larne Times of 30 November 1918 stated that Lowry had been awarded a Military Medal for gallantry in the field. I have not been able to find official documentation to confirm this.


Lowry's younger brother Hugh also served in the war, in the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. He was killed in action in Belgium on 21 October 1918.