Private Thomas Alexander McClelland, MM


Thomas Alexander McClelland was born on 22 December 1891 at Kilaneel, County Monaghan, one of eight children of farmer John McClelland and his wife Margaret (nee Auld). By 1901 he was living with his family on their farm just outside Armagh, and ten years later, following his father's retirement, in Irish Street, Armagh, where he worked as a postman.

McClelland enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 30 July and 21 August 1916 (No.2231). Later that year or in early 1917 he was sent to France with a reinforcement draft, joining either the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments.

In September 1917 the 2nd Regiment was dismounted and most of its men, together with some from the 1st Regiment, were  transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, subsequently named the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion. McClelland, like most of the men, was transferred on 20 September. He was issued a new number – 41307.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

From 21 to 28 March 1918 the 9th Battalion took part in the retreat from St Quentin and the following month in the German offensive south of Ypres. For the part he played during those actions McClelland was awarded a Military Medal.

After the war he returned to work for the Post Office. By 1949 he was Assistant Superintendent, Travelling Post Offices Section, GPO, at Bexley Heath, Kent. That year he was awarded a British Empire Medal (Civil Division) in the King's Birthday Honours List.