Private Francis Wallace McMaster


Francis Wallace McMaster was born on 20 May 1891 at Buckna, near Broughshane, County Antrim, the fifth of seven children of farmer Alexander McMaster and his wife Margaret (née Wallace). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Buckna with his parents and five surviving siblings.

McMaster enlisted in the Royal Irish Rifles in late April or early May 1915 (regimental number unknown). Posted to the 18th (Reserve) Battalion, at some point in the following year he must have been discharged, for between 22 and 26 August 1916 he joined the North Irish Horse (No.2247). (Note: His Medal Index Card gives his number as 3347, but this appears to be a mistranscription.)

Around March 1917 McMaster embarked for France, where he was posted to B or C Squadron of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including McMaster, were transferred on 20 September and were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion, joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. McMaster was issued regimental number 41533 and posted to A Company.

On 23 November 1917 McMaster was wounded in the left buttock in the assault on the village of Moeuvres during the Battle of Cambrai. Following treatment at No.29 Casualty Clearing Station and the 18th General Hospital, on 1 December he was evacuated to the UK. Following his recovery McMaster rejoined his battalion in the early months of 1918.

McMaster was wounded again, this time in the fighting around Wulverghem and Mount Kemmel on the Ypres front in April 1918. It is not known if he saw any further front-line service in the war.

After the war McMaster returned to farming at Buckna. On 13 May 1920 he married Maggie McNeill at Glenarm Presbyterian Church, County Antrim. He died at his home, 47 Buckna Road, Broughshane, on 13 June 1976, and was buried in the Buckna New Cemetery.