Private Charles McKittrick


This North Irish Horseman was probably the Charles McKittrick born on 18 November 1882 at Parkhall, Antrim, the third of seven children of labourer (later carter in a sawmill) John McKittrick and his wife Margaret Jane (née Eccles). By the time of the 1901 Census he was living at Riverside, Antrim, with his parents and three younger siblings and working as a groom and domestic servant. He later moved to Belfast, where he worked as a groom.

McKittrick enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons at Belfast on 21 June 1906 (No.5706). On 5 September, however, he obtained a discharge on payment of £10.

Soon after the outbreak of war, on 6 or 7 October 1914,  McKittrick enlisted in the North Irish Horse (No.1278). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot before embarking for France on 17 November 1915 with F Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 33rd Division.

He must have been wounded, injured or fallen ill in the following months, for during 1916 he returned to the UK and then to the Antrim camp. In November 1916 he and around 100 other North Irish Horsemen volunteered to transfer to the Royal Irish Rifles. The formal transfer took place on 7 December (McKittrick was issued regimental number 40895), and on that day the men embarked for France. There they were posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, joining it on the Somme front on 12 December.

McKittrick remained with the Rifles throughout the war. On 11 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.