Private John McDonald


John McDonald was born on 6 March 1895 at Ballymullan, Blaris, County Down, the eighth or ninth of thirteen children of railway labourer Francis McDonald and his wife Margaret (née Black). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 253 Roden Street, Belfast, with his parents and his eight surviving siblings, and working as a painter.

McDonald enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 11 November 1915 (No.1845 – later Corps of Hussars No.71589). 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.

McDonald was wounded in September or October 1918 during the Advance to Victory offensive. On 13 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

Records suggest that he was later granted a pension, his level of disability in July 1920 assessed at 100 per cent. In December 1920 he was living at 24-29 Mission Street, San Francisco.