Private Thomas McFarland Lyons



Thomas McFarland Lyons was born on 18 February 1896 at Straw, Omagh, County Tyrone, the third of four children of farmer John James Lyons and his wife Elizabeth (née McFarland). Educated at the Albert Agricultural College in Dublin, by the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Straletterdallan, near Newtownstewart, County Tyrone, with his parents and siblings.

Lyons enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 19 or 20 November 1915 (No.1928). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, where 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 Lyons, 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. Lyons was issued regimental number 41408.

Lyons was wounded during the Battle of Cambrai, probably in the fighting for the village of Moeuvres on 22 and 23 November 1917. Nothing more has been discovered about his military service during the remainder of the war.

Following his discharge at the end of the war Lyons returned to Straletterdallan. In 1922 he emigrated to Australia, farming in Victoria and on a banana plantation in northern NSW. In 1927 he married Clarice Edna Kiss in Ashfield, Sydney.

Lyons returned to Northern Ireland with his family in September 1939. He was elected to the Northern Ireland parliament as Unionist member for North Tyrone in August 1943, holding the seat until 1969. He was for a period Deputy Speaker of the Assembly. He was appointed Justice of the Peace in 1944 and High Sheriff of County Tyrone in 1961. He died in Newtownstewart on 16 May 1985.



Belfast Telegraph, 18 November 1960


Belfast Telegraph, 26 October 1968, on electoral reforms in Northern Ireland


Belfast Telegraph, 6 March 1969, following his resignation from the North Tyrone constituency