Private James Reid McCurdy


James Reid McCurdy was born on 4 August 1893 at Agherton, Portstewart, County Londonderry, the first of six children of boot and shoemaker John McCurdy and his wife Lizzie (née Hanna). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living in Coleraine Road, Portstewart, with his parents and his four surviving siblings, and working as a shoemaker.

McCurdy enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 2 and 13 December 1915 (No.2030). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot before embarking for France in 1916 or early 1917. There he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments.

On 9 July 1917 McCurdy was one of around thirty North Irish Horsemen who, being no longer physically fit for front-line service due to injury, age or illness, were transferred to the Labour Corps and posted to No.664 Home Service Labour Company. McCurdy was issued regimental number 333724. It appears, based on the records of some of these men, that they continued to serve at the North Irish Horse reserve depot at Antrim. He remained with the Labour Corps until the end of the war.

On 21 April 1919 he married Elizabeth Parker at the Church of Ireland Parish Church in Antrim. Their second son, William, died in tragic circumstances in Lough Neagh on 17 November 1938 at the age of 14.

McCurdy re-enlisted during World War 2, serving in the 5th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (No.6983671). He was discharged on 18 August 1943, having reached the age of 50. By 1946 he was living with his wife at 'Isadore', Antrim Road, Whitewell, Belfast, having retired as a postman. He died there on 25 February, and was buried in the Antrim Cemetery.

McCurdy qualified for commemoration as a casualty of Second World War, presumably because his cause of death, coronary thrombosis, was attributed to or aggravated by his military service. He is therefore commemorated on the Brookwood 1939-1945 Memorial, Panel 11, Column 2. His name is also included on the Roll of Honour of the Portstewart Presbyterian Church.


Brookwood Memorial


McCurdy's medals and other items


Some of the above information provided by Nigel Henderson, researcher at Hustory Hub Ulster. Brookwood image provided by Steve Rogers at The War Graves Photographic Project. Image of McCurdy's medals courtesy of William Gordon.