Private George McCoubrie


George McCoubrie (or McCoubrey) was born on 25 May 1889 at Dunalley, Downpatrick, County Down, the third of seven children of under-huntsman (at other times groom, whipper-in and labourer) John McCoubrie and his wife Isabella (nee Killips). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Ballynaglave South, Ballynahinch, at the home of Samuel Barbour (Barrie) Combe, where he worked as a groom and domestic servant.

McCoubrie enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 10 and 12 August 1914 (No.990). Just days later, on 20 August, he embarked for France with C Squadron, no doubt thanks to the assistance of his employer Barrie Combe, who sailed at the same time as an officer of the squadron. He saw action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne. (Combe was killed on the Aisne on 30 September.)

In June 1916 C Squadron combined with F Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men transferred to the infantry. Like most, McCoubrie was posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – on 20 September, joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. He was issued regimental number 41518. It is likely that he saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

No information has been located about McCoubrie's service with the 9th (NIH) Battalion through 1918, but it is likely that he was sent home sick, injured or wounded (or on leave), for on 29 August that year he married Rebecca Watson at the Congregational Church, Magheradrool, County Down.