Sergeant William Maguire


William Maguire was born on 26 October 1883 at Shankill, Lurgan, County Armagh, the fourth of six children of master painter William Maguire and his wife Elizabeth (née Duffin). By the time of the 1901 Census he was living in High Street, Lurgan, with his father and three of his siblings and working as a house painter.

On 5 March 1901 he enlisted in the 54th (Belfast) Company, Imperial Yeomanry (No.34508), serving in South Africa during the Boer War from 13 April 1901 before returning home on 1 September the following year. (It appears that at some point he was posted to the 74th (Dublin) Company.) He was discharged at Aldershot on 7 September, his military conduct recorded as 'very good'.

By the time of the 1911 Census, Maguire was living in High Street, Lurgan, with his older brother John, both working as house painters.

Maguire enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 10 September 1914 (No.1205 – later Corps of Hussars No.71280). On 1 May 1915 he embarked for France with D Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 51st Division.

In May 1916 D Squadron came together with A and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps until February-March 1918, when the regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

Maguire remained with the regiment throughout the war, though records suggest he returned from France to the reserve camp at Antrim around June 1918. On 21 February 1919 he was discharged as 'surplus to military requirements, having suffered impairment since entry into the service' (paragraph 392 xvi(a), King's Regulations). He was granted a pension (6s 6d a week) for sciatica, which was attributed to his military service, his level of disability assessed at less than 20 per cent. The pension was ended in August 1921.

In 1922 Maguire emigrated to Australia, arriving at Fremantle on the s.s. Largs Bay on 18 November. He farmed for two years then went prospecting on the goldfields until 1931, when he moved to Perth and returned to his trade as a painter.

In 1949 Maguire applied unsuccessfully to have his military pension restored. Four years later he applied to the King's Fund for special assistance.

I have reached the age of 73 years, I am past work and unable to earn my own living. This past five years I have been doing only casual work. This past year none. I have been greatly troubled with Sciatica and Rheumatism which I contracted in France during the 1914-18 War ... and I have now reached the end of my resources. The money I have been saving for a long time will all be gone in a few weeks and I am likely to apply for the old age pension, which is only an existence at the present time. I am hoping to get something from the Ministry of Pensions to supplement it with. I had a disability pension from the 1914-18 War and as I thought I was allright and able to earn my own living I let it go.

The Fund granted him £10 for the purchase of clothing.