Private Thomas Porter


Thomas Porter was born on 6 July 1884 in Brook Street, Coleraine, County Londonderry, the eighth or ninth of ten children of coach builder Henry Porter and his wife Sarah (née Blair). Between 1884 and 1892 the family moved to Ballymoney, County Antrim. By the time of the 1911 Census Thomas was living at 6 John Street, Ballymoney, with his widowed mother and two of his five surviving siblings, and working as a National School teacher.

Porter enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 28 May and 1 June 1915 (No.1642 – later Corps of Hussars No.71482). 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.

The Ballymoney Free Press mentioned Porter on three occasions in 1916:

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.
(7 September 1916)

Trooper Thomas Porter, N.I.H., (formerly teacher in the Church National School), is at present in hospital in England.
(2 November 1916)

Trooper Thomas Porter ... arrived home on Saturday last from hospital in England. He is well known in athletic circles, and was a prominent player for "the Blues" when the local team was in active existence.
(9 November 1916)

In May 1916 Porter's squadron of the North Irish Horse came together with A and D Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps until February-March 1918, when the regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

Porter remained with the regiment throughout the war.

On 20 July 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.