Sergeant Henry Napier


Henry Napier was born on 5 November 1875 in Bird Lane, Banbridge, County Down, the last of at least six children of labourer and gardener Thomas Napier and his wife Catherine (nee McAnarney). By 1904 he was living at 67 Donegall Road, Belfast, and working as a plater's helper. On 17 January that year he married Margaret Reid at St Anne's Church of Ireland Parish Church. The couple had six children over the next ten years. By the time of the 1911 Census they were living in Ballynure Street, Belfast, Henry working as a general labourer.

Napier enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 28 and 31 August 1914 (No.1051 - later Corps of Hussars No.71712), understating his age by four years. He embarked for France with D Squadron on 1 May 1915.

In May 1916 D Squadron joined with A and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX then V Corps until early 1918, when they were converted to a corps cyclist regiment.

Napier was listed as wounded in mid-1917 – the date and circumstances are unknown at present, but may have related to the fighting on the early days of the Third Ypres offensive.

On 15 July 1918 Napier was transferred to the Labour Corps (No.564036), though whether this was as a result of disability caused by his wound or simply his age is not known. He remained with the Labour Corps, reaching the rank of transport sergeant, until his discharge on 12 June 1920. He was granted a pension due to defective hearing and rheumatism, but this was discontinued in 1921.

Napier died at his home, 12 Ballynure Street, on 4 June 1937, and was buried in the Dundonald Cemetery, Belfast.


Irish Times, 11 June 1937