Private Michael Olphert


Michael Olphert (or Olpherts) was born on 30 October 1894 in Meetinghouse Street, Ballymoney, County Antrim, the first of two children of general labourer Patrick Olphert and his wife Jane (née Herrigan). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 26 Union Street, Ballymoney, with his parents and brother, and working as a grocer's apprentice.

Olphert enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 25 May 1915 (No.1609 – later Corps of Hussars No.71470). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot before embarking for France in the first half of 1916, possibly with E Squadron on 11 January.

On 7 September 1916 the Ballymoney Free Press reported that:

Sergeant John R. Owens, Royal Irish Rifles, arrived home on Wednesday last. He contracted rheumatic fever in the trenches, from which he has recovered. ... In France he met Troopers Thomas Porter, Hugh Lusk, Michael Olpherts, Samuel McAllister, Thomas F. Owens, and Corporal Hodges, of the North Irish Horse.

Olphert remained with the regiment throughout the war. On 7 April 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war Olphert returned to Ballymoney, where he worked as a shop assistant. On 5 August 1919 he married Margaret Teresa Oakman at the Ballymoney Roman Catholic Church.


Olphert's brother Patrick also served in the war, with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He was killed in action on 10 July 1916.