Squadron Quartermaster-Sergeant Herbert William McCormack


Herbert William McCormack was born on 8 October 1882 in Shepherd's Bush, London, the first or second of five children of Irish-born prison warder Michael Henry McCormack and his wife Susan (née Attwooll).

McCormack enlisted in the Dragoons of the Line in London on 7 January 1901 (No.5424 – later Corps of Dragoons No.19743). Posted to the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays), he served in South Africa from October 1902 to January 1908.

On 23 April 1908 he married Ettie Lilian Baden at Plaistow, London. By the time of the 1911 Census Herbert (with his wife and their two children) were living at the 2nd Dragoon Guards barracks at Aldershot.

McCormack embarked for France on 16 August 1914, shortly after the declaration of war. He must have been wounded, injured or fallen ill, for he returned to the UK on 1 September. He remained there until 30 June 1916 when he returned to France, having been posted to the headquarters establishment of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment following the formation of that regiment in France from C and F Squadrons and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron. The headquarters, formed in England and comprising 40 officers and men, joined the new regiment in France at the beginning of July.

The 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment served as corps cavalry to X Corps until August-September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers. McCormack, however, remained with the cavalry, serving in France until 11 January 1919, when he returned to the UK. He subsequently served in the Egyptian theatre, from 24 June 1919 to 4 December 1920.

McCormack was discharged in 12 April 1922 on the expiration of his second period of engagement, having served 21 years. His military character was recorded as 'very good'. This, however, does not entirely square with the fact that, on 8 April 1922 he was convicted at the Ripon Quarter Sessions for receiving 350 blankets stolen from the military. He was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment with hard labour. Records suggest that his army pension was cancelled, but was later reinstated.

By the time of the 1939 Register McCormack was living at 29 Castlefrank House, Drysdale Street, Shoreditch, London, having recently re-married. He was working as a housing inquiry officer for the London Council. He died in the Mildmay Mission Hospital, Bethnall Green, on 3 April 1946.