Lance Corporal William Andrew Patton


William Andrew Patton was born on 22 July 1893 at Calhame, Ballynure, County Antrim, the fifth of nine children farmer William Patton and his wife Jane (nee Percy). By 1911 he was living at Killycowan, Dunminning, County Antrim, and working as an agricultural labourer.

Patton enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 10 September 1914 (No.1196).  On 18 December 1914 he embarked for France with a small group of reinforcements for A and C Squadrons, under Lieutenant Arthur Charles Nugent.  He was probably posted to C Squadron, which served as divisional cavalry to the 3rd Division through 1915 and the first half of 1916.

In June 1916 C Squadron joined with F Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, which served as corps cavalry to X Corps. In September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and the men retrained as infantry.  The majority, including Patton, joined the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers on 20 September 1917 - re-named 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion. Patton was issued number 41259 and posted to C Company.

On the night of 3 November 1917 C Company mounted a major raid on the German trenches near Havrincourt on the Cambrai front. The battalion war diary for that day states:

At 4.30 p.m. 'C' Coy left Ruyaulcourt and marched up to the line to carry out a raid. The enemy's front line was successfully penetrated, from the Canal ... to about 150 [yards] E of it. The fighting was very severe as the enemy refused to surrender. Our men stayed in the enemy trenches for twenty min. and bayonetted and shot at least forty Germans. We suffered some casualties, mostly from bombs:- 1 officer severely wounded; 1 officer slightly wounded; 1 N.C.O. killed; 3 O.R. missing, believed killed; 13 O.R. wounded; 1 R.E. (N.C.O.) severely wounded.

Patton was one of the wounded. He recovered, however, rejoining the battalion later that year or in the early months of 1918.

He was captured, unwounded, during the fighting on the Messines ridge in 12 April 1918.

Held at Friedrichsfeld prisoner of war camp, Patton was repatriated at the end of the war. On 10 April 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.