Private George McGivern


George McGivern was born in Lurgan, County Armagh, on 18 September 1890, son of linen factory tenter William John McGivern and his wife Elizabeth (nee Burke).

Like his father, George worked as a tenter, though the 1911 census shows him as unemployed. On 22 April 1911 he married Isabella Fitzpatrick and over the next four years they had three female children – Mary Catherine, Elizabeth Frances (Lily) and Patricia Josephine.

McGivern enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 10 September 1914 (No.1208). He embarked for France on 1 May 1915 with D Squadron.

On 11 August 1915, while the squadron was in the trenches near Authille on the Somme front, McGivern was wounded in the right ear. According to D Squadron's war diary:

During their period in the trenches (30-7-15 to 13-8-15) their casualties were one slightly wounded by a dropping bullet. This man, Pte McGivern, a sqn cook, being in a Reserve trench.

At around the same time, McGivern learnt that his eldest child, 3 year-old Mary Catherine, had died of tuberculosis and meningitis.

In September 1915 he was given four days Field Punishment No.1 for being absent from camp after 'Lights Out'. The day after Christmas he was found to be drunk while the squadron marched to new billets at Septenville. He was given 28 days Field Punishment No.1.

In 1917 he requested a transfer to the Army Service Corps, perhaps in part due to his suffering from synovitis of the knee, which had troubled him since the beginning of 1916. On 6 September the transfer took place. He was issued a new number (M/323300) and posted to the Army Service Corps Reserve Depot (Motor Transport) at Grove Park, London.

McGivern spent the remainder of the war at the transport workshops as a 'Learner Fitter'. He was transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 11 June 1919.