Private William John McClurg


The background of this North Irish Horseman is not certain, other than that he was born around 1880, and he was probably the William J. McClurg recorded in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland's Roll of Honour as serving as a trooper in the North Irish Horse, and coming from Loanends, County Antrim, where he worshipped at the Loanends United Free Church.

On that basis, he was probably the William John McClurg born on 9 September 1879 at Ballymather, Killead, County Antrim, the second child of domestic servant Margaret McClurg. By 1904 he was living at 8 Primrose Street, Ballysillan and working as a labourer. On 17 November that year he married Elizabeth Taylor in St Anne's Church of Ireland Parish Church in Belfast. The couple had three children over the next six years. By the time of the 1911 Census they were living at 18 Shannon Street, Belfast, William working as a van man.

McClurg enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 1 October 1914 (No.1249 – later Corps of Hussars No.71303). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot before embarking for France sometime between 1916 and 1918, possibly with E Squadron on 11 January 1916.

In May 1916 E Squadron came together with A and D Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps until February-March 1918, when the regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

McClurg remained with the regiment until the end of the war, though how much time he spent in France and Belgium and how much at the Antrim reserve camp is not known at present.

On 29 March 1919 he was discharged as 'surplus to military requirements, having suffered impairment since entry into the service' (paragraph 392 xvi(a), King's Regulations). He applied for a pension for 'spine trouble', but it is not clear whether this was granted.

Soon after the war McClurg was living at 22 Bank Street, Wharf Road, Sale, near Manchester.