Lance Corporal James Patterson


James Patterson was born on 24 July 1889 at 31 Princes Street, Belfast, the last of six children of plater James Patterson and his wife Harriett (née Kendall). His father died when he was just five years old. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living in Brougham Street, Belfast, with his mother, a sister and an older relative, and working as an apprentice engine fitter for the firm Watson, Valentine & Co. He completed his apprenticeship in October 1912.

Patterson enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Belfast on 4 September 1914 (No.1102). In December he embarked for England with D Squadron, where they were billeted at Cople, Bedford, awaiting orders for France. While there he was twice disciplined for being absent from stables, on 18 and 23 January 1915, being deprived of a total of six days' pay as punishment.

On 1 May the squadron embarked for France, serving as divisional cavalry to the 51st Division.

Patterson was regularly in trouble for further disciplinary breaches: on 22 June 1915 at Carvin for ill-treating a horse (one day's Field Punishment No.2); on 18 July 1915 at Estaires for being absent from morning roll call (one day's Field Punishment No.2); on 8 April 1916 for neglecting to obey an order (fined five days' pay); and on 9 May 1916 for insolence to an NCO (another five days' pay).

In May 1916 D Squadron came together with A and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps. Patterson was promoted to lance corporal (unpaid) on 2 October 1916, and five months later, to lance corporal (paid).

In August 1917 he fell ill with trench fever and was evacuated to the UK, where he was admitted to No.4 Southern General Hospital at Plymouth. He remained there until 8 October, when he was sent on furlough.

On 13 November 1917 he was transferred to the Army Service Corps (Motor Transport) (No. M/324350), reverting to the rank of private. Initially posted to the ASC Reserve Depot at Grove Park in London, he was then sent to No.1050 Company at the Motor Transport Instruction School at Aldershot. On 14 May 1918 he was transferred to the W Reserve (for men whose services were deemed to be more valuable in civil rather than military employment), and recommended for transfer to shipbuilding. It appears however that this did not eventuate.

On 14 December 1918 Patterson was discharged at Aldershot, being 'surplus to military requirements' (paragraph 392 (xxv)(a), King's Regulations).