Private John Maxwell


John Maxwell and his twin sister Mary Ann (Jennie) were born on 23 November 1892 at Dunmore, Cookstown, County Tyrone, the twelfth and thirteenth of fourteen children of farmer James Maxwell and his wife Mary Ann (nee Shaw).

Maxwell enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 13 or 14 January 1913 (No.781 – later Corps of Hussars No.71103). He embarked for France with C Squadron on 20 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

On 28 November 1914 the Mid-Ulster Mail reported that:

Driver W. J. Arbuthnott, of the North Irish Horse, son of Mr. W. J. Arbuthnott, Drumbonaway, writing to a friend says:--"... I have come through a few battles safely. All the rest of the boys are well and doing good work at the front, especially the Cookstown chaps. We are very well looked after with food and clothes, and we never want for anything, and not one of the Cookstown party of the North Irish Horse has got a wound, though all have shown up bravely at the post of duty. Sergeant Ashcroft, John Maxwell, Samuel Espey, Willie Crooks, Willie Anderson, George Henry, and Albert James McKenna, are the Cookstown fellows in the same troop as me.

C Squadron became part of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment in June 1916, which in September 1917 was disbanded and the men transferred to the infantry. However Maxwell was not with them by then. He had probably returned from France to the UK between 1914 and mid-1917, sick, wounded or injured.

If, as seems likely, he later returned to France, he would have been posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment – A, D or E.

Maxwell was transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 26 February 1919.

By 1937 he was living at 41 Sandown Road, Belfast and working as a bus conductor. He died that year on 25 April, and was buried in the Claggan Presbyterian Churchyard, County Tyrone.


The Mid-Ulster Mail of 18 November 1916 reported the funeral and burial of Maxwell's father at Claggan – "a  well-known and highly respected man". According to the report "Four sons were unable to attend the funeral as they are at present serving in France, Jas. with the Canadians, John with the North Irish Horse, William with the Inniskillings, and Robert with the Royal Irish Rifles."