Lance Corporal William Clarke Montgomery


William Clarke Montgomery was born on 15 April 1893 at 99 Upper Meadow Street, Belfast, the third of six children of ship steward (later hotel hall porter) Alexander Montgomery and his wife Elizabeth (née Hill). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Lough Villas, Shore Road, Belfast, with his parents, siblings and a cousin, and working as an apprentice joiner.

Montgomery enlisted in the North Irish Horse beteeen 16 and 18 February 1915 (No.1449). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France on 17 November 1915 with F Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 33rd Division.

In June 1916 F Squadron combined with C Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Montgomery, 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. Montgomery was issued regimental number 41251 and posted to D Company.

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

Montgomery 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 on 27 March at Erches, near Roye, when much of the battalion had been overwhelmed by the fast-moving German advance. He remained a prisoner until the end of the war, held at camps in Stendal and Arys.

Following his repatriation, on 19 March 1919 Montgomery was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.


At least one of Montgomery's brothers, Charles Hill Montgomery, also served in the war, in the 10th Battalion (Alberta Regiment) of the Canadian infantry. He was killed in action at Ypres on 23 April 1915.