Private James Robert Bruce Nesbitt



James Robert Bruce Nesbitt was born on 27 June 1889 at 98 Peter's Hill, Belfast, the second of four children of bedding manufacturer (later auctioneer) James Nesbitt and his Scottish-born wife Janet (nee Bruce). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living with his parents and siblings at Salisbury Avenue, Belfast, and working as a furniture shop assistant. He later worked for his father's firm as an auctioneer. He was, according to a newspaper report, "a well-known member of Cliftonville Second Eleven Hockey Club".

Nesbitt enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Belfast on 3 September 1914 (No.1089). He embarked for France with a small group of reinforcements for A and C Squadrons on 20 January 1915.

On 10 November 1916 Nesbitt was transferred for duty as a batman with the 1st Echelon. While home on leave the following month, however, he became ill and was admitted to hospital, remaining there until 7 March 1917, when he was well enough to return to his duties as a batman in France. His health must not have been the best, for on 22 October 1917 he was transferred to the Labour Corps (No.385227) and posted to 765 Area Employment Company.

By 22 May 1918 Nesbitt was once again fit for front-line service, and was transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers (No.42295). He was posted to the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, joining it in the field on 7 July, and was assigned to B Company.

Nesbitt saw much action during the Advance to Victory offensive from August to October 1918. On 4 September in the fighting near Wulverghem he was buried by the explosion of a shell. Treated at No.109 Field Ambulance for contusions, he was able to rejoin his battalion the same day.

Nesbitt was granted leave home from 26 October to 9 November, and this was extended to 1 December following the end of hostilities. He was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 28 February 1919. His military conduct was recorded as 'very good'.

After the war Nesbitt returned to work at his father's auctioneering firm. He died at his home, 344 Antrim Road, Belfast, on 28 January 1955.


Image from the Belfast Evening Telegraph, kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster (