Private Martin Joseph McKevitt


Martin Joseph McKevitt was born on 13 March 1897 at 25 Alloa Street Belfast, the first of nine children of draper's assistant Hugh McKevitt and his wife Elizabeth (née Lindsay). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 20 Beech Park Street, Belfast, with his parents, his seven surviving siblings, and a half-sister from his father's previous marriage.

McKevitt enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 8 November 1915 (No.1816). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including McKevitt, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. McKevitt was issued regimental number 41547 and posted to C Company.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

McKevitt was one of the many posted as missing following the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive. It was later learned that he had been captured, unwounded, on 27 March at Erches, near Roye, when much of the battalion had been overwhelmed by the fast-moving German advance. (Prisoner of war records state that he was serving with A Company at the time.) He remained a prisoner until the end of the war, held at camps in Giessen and Limburg.

At some point after the war McKevitt moved to England. He died in January 1939 at St Stephen's Hospital, Chelsea, and was buried in the West of London and Westminster Cemetery.