Lance Corporal John Harris McClinton



John Harris McClinton was born on 23 December 1898 at Craigarogan, Templepatrick, County Antrim, the first of six children of engine employee Andrew McClinton and his wife Agnes (nee Harris). By 1911 he was living with his family at nearby Ballywee, Kilbride, his father working as a yarn dryer.

McClinton enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 5 January 1915 (No.1383). He must have overstated his age, for he was only 16 years old at the time.

Soon after, McClinton embarked for England with F Squadron, where they awaited orders for France. On 12 July, however, he was one of about two dozen men of the squadron who volunteered for service as Military Mounted Police with the 54th (East Anglian) Division, which was under orders to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. Appointed to the rank of acting lance corporal, they sailed from Devonport on HMT Manitou on 29 July 1915, joining the landing at Suvla Bay the following month.

Records suggest that later that year McClinton was wounded. After recovering sufficiently he returned to the UK, where he rejoined the North Irish Horse at its Antrim base depot, and reverted to the rank of private.

In 1916 or early 1917 he embarked for France, joining either the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment.

In September 1917 the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment was dismounted and most of its men, together with some men surplus to the needs of the 1st Regiment, were transferred to the infantry. After training at the 36th (Ulster) Division Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur, the men were formally transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers on 20 September and soon after were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – re-named the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt. McClinton was issued regimental number 41436.

He probably saw action with the 9th Battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917. He was still serving with the Royal Irish Fusiliers in August 1919.

In May 1926 McClinton emigrated to Canada, where he settled in British Columbia. On 30 November 1932 he married Jean McKinley Redpath. He served for many years in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, reaching the rank of inspector. He died in Victoria, British Columbia, on 30 November 1970.


McClinton in the uniform of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police


John McClinton's cousin, William Andrew McClinton, also served in the North Irish Horse.


Templepatrick Old Presbyterian Church War Memorial


The first photograph of John McClinton was kindly provided by William McClinton's grand-daughter, Caroline Dobbin. The second photograph is sourced from the RCMP Graves blogspot.