Farrier Sergeant David McManus


David McManus was born on 11 February 1889 in Glasgow, one of at least five children of baker David McManus and his wife Christina Brown McManus (née Kirkwood). Around 1895 the family moved to Belfast. His mother died following childbirth in March 1901. By the time of the 1911 Census David was living at 24 Penrose Street, Belfast, with his father, step-mother, and three of his siblings, and working as a horse-shoer.

McManus enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 5 October 1914 (No.1266 – later Corps of Hussars No.71311). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France sometime between 1916 and 1918, possibly with E Squadron on 11 January 1916.

In May 1916 E Squadron came together with D and A Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps until February-March 1918, when the regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit. This meant a 25 per cent reduction in the regiment's numbers, and McManus was one of many sent to other regiments – he was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps (No.139749) on 12 March 1918.

McManus remained with that regiment until the end of the war. On 11 May 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war McManus returned to Penrose Street and worked as a smith. On 5 April 1920 he married Matilda Griffin in the Malone Presbyterian Church, Belfast.


McManus's brothers also served in the war. Thomas Kirkwood McManus was killed in action at Ypres on 9 June 1917, aged 20. John Francis McManus served with the Royal Irish Fusiliers. According to the Presbyterian Church in Ireland's Roll of Honour, he was awarded a Military Medal.


Crescent Presbyterian Church Roll of Honour, Belfast


Thomas Kirkwood McManus


Images courtesy of Nigel Henderson, History Hub Ulster.