Private John McConnell


John McConnell was born on 4 May 1888 at 55 Hartley Street, Belfast, the second of thirteen children of upholsterer Hugh McConnell and his wife Margaret (née Sherry). At the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 59 Israel Street, Belfast, with his parents and six of his eight surviving siblings, and working as a furniture salesman.

McConnell enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 19 and 22 May 1915 (No.1562 – later Corps of Hussars No.71443). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France 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. It then served as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

McConnell remained with the regiment throughout the war. On 8 April 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war he returned to his family in Israel Street, where he lived until his death in the Belfast City Hospital on 2 May 1941, aged 52. He was buried in the City Cemetery, Glenalina Extension.


McConnell's father Hugh and his brother James also served in the war, both in the Royal Irish Rifles. James (No.12029), 15th Battalion, was severely wounded, necessitating the amputation of his left leg (see articles below).


Belfast News-Letter, 1 February 1916


Larne Times, 12 February 1916


This page last updated 29 December 2023.