Private Edward McClure


Edward McClure was born on 14 August 1894 at Gracehill, Ballymena, County Antrim, the fifth of seven children of bleacher (later agricultural labourer) Edward McClure and his wife Mary (née Craig). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Gracehill with his parents and three of his siblings and working as a hardware salesman.

McClure enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 18 or 19 November 1915 (No.1918). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot before embarking for France in 1916. There he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including McClure, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. McClure was issued regimental number 41284 and posted to C Company.

On the night of 3 November 1917 C Company mounted a major raid on the German trenches near Havrincourt on the Cambrai front. The battalion war diary for that day states:

At 4.30 p.m. 'C' Coy left Ruyaulcourt and marched up to the line to carry out a raid. The enemy's front line was successfully penetrated, from the Canal ... to about 150 [yards] E of it. The fighting was very severe as the enemy refused to surrender. Our men stayed in the enemy trenches for twenty min. and bayonetted and shot at least forty Germans. We suffered some casualties, mostly from bombs:- 1 officer severely wounded; 1 officer slightly wounded; 1 N.C.O. killed; 3 O.R. missing, believed killed; 13 O.R. wounded; 1 R.E. (N.C.O.) severely wounded.

McClure was one of the wounded. Following his recovery, on 19 June 1918 he was transferred to the Royal Irish Rifles (No.45841) and posted to the 16th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers).

After the war McClure lived at Londonderry and worked as a commercial traveller. On 19 December 1923 he married Elizabeth Dougherty at the Church of Ireland Parish Church, Donoughmore, County Wicklow. He died in Londonderry on 16 April 1969.