Private John George McClure


John George McClure was born on 4 June 1896 at Station Road, Larne, County Antrim, the first of two children of posting establishment manager (later traveller, and tailor) John George McClure and his wife Isabel (née Carson). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living with his parents and sister at 45 Grafton Street, Royal Exchange, Dublin. Following the death of his father in November 1913 he moved with his family to 5 Laurence Road, Clontarf, and worked as a clerk.

McClure enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Dublin on 17 November 1915 (No.1948). He reported for duty at Antrim six days later and was issued regimental number 1948. On 4 August 1916 he embarked for France, where he was posted to B or C Squadron of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, which was then serving as corps cavalry to X Corps.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including McClure, were transferred on 20 September and were 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 41559 and posted to D Company. He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

McClure was one of the many posted as missing following the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive. Two months later his family received a letter from him reporting that he had been captured. This probably occurred on 27 March at Erches, near Roye, when much of the battalion had been overwhelmed by the fast-moving German advance. McClure had received a head wound from a grenade which caused deafness in his right ear.

McClure remained a prisoner until the end of the war, held at camps in Germersheim, Darmstadt and Altdamm. He was repatriated in December 1918 and received treatment at the King George V Hospital in Dublin, but the damage to his ear did not heal. On 25 April 1919 he was discharged, being 'no longer physically fit for military service' (paragraph 392 (xvi), King's Regulations). His military character was recorded as 'very good' and he was granted a pension due to his wound.

According to Nick Metcalfe in Blacker's Boys, after the war McClure became an accountant and worked in Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. He emigrated to the United States and lived at Jackson Heights, New York, working for Transfilm Inc. He became a US citizen in 1949. He died at Jackson Heights, New York, in 1968.