Sergeant John Alexander McMaster



John Alexander McMaster was born on 25 February 1894 at 208 Newtownards Road, Belfast, the second of eleven children of clothier Armstrong McMaster and his wife Fanny (nee Nelson). By 1911 he was living with his family at Enfield Street, Belfast, and working as a clerk in an egg store.

McMaster enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 28 and 31 May 1915 (No.1638). He embarked for France in 1916 or 1917, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of either the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment.

In September 1917 the 2nd Regiment was dismounted and most of its men, together with some from the 1st Regiment, were transferred to the infantry. After training at the 36th (Ulster) Division Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur, the men were formally transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers on 20 September and soon after were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – re-named the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt. McMaster was issued regimental number 41243.

The 9th Battalion saw much action over the following year. However no record has been located of the role played by McMaster. He survived the war and was probably discharged in 1919.


McMaster with family members


In training, possibly at Antrim


The 9th (NIH) Battalion football team in the latter part of 1918. McMaster is on the right, front row.


McMaster's identity discs


Images kindly provided by Nick Metcalfe (the football team) and Jeff McMaster (the others).