Private William James Patterson


William James Patterson was born in 1897 or 1898 in Dumbarton Road, Partick, Glasgow, the first of nine children of Irish-born parents, labourer (later railway porter) William Gardner Patterson and his wife Susan (née Crawford). The family moved to Ballymena, County Antrim, soon after, and then to Ballylinny, Ballyclare, around 1904. By the time of the 1911 Census William was living at Ballylinny with his parents and his five surviving siblings. (Two more were born over the next few years.)

Patterson enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 2 and 19 September 1916 (No.2269). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France in the first half of 1917, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Patterson, 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. Patterson was issued regimental number 41336.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917, and perhaps also during the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918. He was wounded soon after, probably in the fighting around Wulverghem and Mount Kemmel on the Ypres front in April 1918.

Nothing more has been discovered about his service during the remainer of the war.

By 1967 Patterson was living at 22 Knockfergus, Greenisland, County Antrim, having retired from work as a station-master. He died on 16 December that year in the Carrickfergus Hospital.


One of Patterson's brothers, Thomas Crawford Patterson, also served in the war, in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. During the Second World War he served as a Company Quartermaster Sergeant in the Royal Army Service Corps and was commissioned as a Lieutenant-Quartermaster in October 1945.