Private William McFarland


William McFarland was born on 5 January 1897 at Upper Falls, Belfast, the first of five children of farmer William McFarland and his wife Jane Brown McFarland (née Waugh). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Ballymoney, Ballygomartin, Belfast, with his parents and his two surviving siblings.

McFarland enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 6 January 1916 (No.2064). He gave his address as Hillhead, Andersonstown, Belfast, and his occupation as farmer.

While in training at Antrim it became apparent that McFarland's hearing was very poor. On 21 February the regiment's Medical Officer, Thomas Boyle Hill Scott, reported that his:

Right ear [is] completely deaf from childhood. Left ear considerably impaired. The impairment was not remarked by me when he was being examined as he was very anxious to join & concealed it. He hears better in a room & at a close distance. Captain the Earl of Roden has reported to me that owing to his deafness he is useless as a soldier & can not be trained.

As a result, McFarland was discharged on 24 March 1916, being 'not likely to become an efficient soldier, recruit within three months of enlistment considered unfit for service' (paragraph 392(iii)(c), King's Regulations).