Corporal David John Petticrew


David John Petticrew was born (with the name David John Eager) on 18 January 1896 at Ballygrainey, County Down, one of at least eight children of domestic servant Ellen Eager (née Patterson). At the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Corporation, Bangor, County Down, with his mother, four of his siblings, and general labourer Joseph Pettigrew, who was recorded as the assumed husband and father. David was working as an agricultural labourer.

He enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 3 and 11 March 1915 (No.1463), using the name Petticrew. On 22 September 1915 he embarked for France with a reinforcement draft for A, C and D Squadrons – he was probably posted to C Squadron.

In May and June 1916 C Squadron combined with F Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, and A, D and E Squadrons combined to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, each serving as corps cavalry units. In 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 infantry. Like most, Petticrew joined the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – on 20 September, joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. He was issued regimental number 41315.

No information has been located about Petticrew's service with the 9th (NIH) Battalion during the remainder of the war. On 17 June 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. He was granted a disability pension due to 'tubercular adenitis', attributed to his military service, until April 1922.

Following his demobilisation, Petticrew returned to Bangor, where he worked as a waiter. On 10 September 1919 he married Annie Parkinson at Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church. He died on 27 May 1940. Their son David served as a pilot in the Royal Air Force during World War 2.


Some of the information above courtesy of Nigel Henderson, Great War Researcher at History Hub Ulster.


This page last updated 24 January 2024.