Sergeant Francis Galbraith McClean


Francis Galbraith McClean was born around 1890 in the parish of Ray, near the town of Pluck, Manorcunningham, County of Donegal, son of farmer and shopkeeper James Allen McClean and his wife Kathleen.

From around 1905 he served in the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry, the predecessor to the North Irish Horse, leaving when it was disbanded in 1908.

He enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Letterkenny on 14 January 1910 (No.437), and was promoted to lance corporal on 30 April 1912 and corporal on 8 April 1913.

Corporal McClean embarked for France with A Squadron on 17 August 1914, seeing action on the Retreat from Mons and Advance to the Aisne.  He was promoted to sergeant on 1 November 1914.

On 12 February 1915 the Ballymena Observer reported:

Captain E. C. Herdman, A Squadron, North Irish Horse, writes, to Miss A. McClean, co. “Observer” Office, Ballymena – “Your most welcome present of tobacco and cigarettes for the men of A. Squadron, N.I.H., has come safely to hand, and, on their behalf, I thank you most sincerely for same. It is by far the nicest present of the sort we have yet received. The manner in which the parcels are done up, with the name of each donor being on it, is such a good idea, and I hope you will convey our thanks to as many of them as possible. The tobacco will be especially welcome, and it has arrived at a very appropriate time, as the Xmas cigarettes are getting a bit low, and you can’t get tobacco for love nor money over here – none of the factories working. Thanks to our good friends at home, our men want for nothing, being warmly clothed, well fed, and plenty to smoke, and, although suffering great hardships and discomfort, are perfectly happy and contented. Again thanking you very much.

Sergeant McClean – “I appreciate them very much.”

Sergeant McClean's period of service ended in January 1916.  He elected not to re-enlist and was discharged on 13 January – his character noted as "very good" on his service file.

He died on 16 May 1954.