Private James McCracken


James McCracken was born on 12 July 1893 at Greenisland, Carrickfergus, County Antrim, the last of three children of spirit and wine merchant (later farmer) James McCracken and his wife Agnes (née Johnston). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Greenisland with his parents and siblings and working in the tea trade.

McCracken enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 6 and 16 July 1915 (No.1703 – later Corps of Hussars No.71510). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France sometime between 1916 and 1918, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment. This regiment served as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps from its establishment in May 1916 until February-March 1918, when it was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

McCracken remained with the regiment throughout the war. On 3 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

According to the Presbyterian Church in Ireland's Roll of Honour, McCracken became a lieutenant, but I have found nothing to confirm this. It is possible that he commenced training as an officer cadet, but had not completed the course before the war ended.