Private Edward Purvis


Edward Purvis was born on 28 October 1891 at 46 Israel Street, Belfast, the last of seven children of plasterer Edward Purvis and his wife Jane (née Caughey). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 54 Townsend Street Upper, Belfast, with his parents and one of his five surviving siblings and working as a draper.

Purvis enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 19 November 1915 (No.1925). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France in 1916 or 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 Purvis, 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. Purvis was issued regimental number 41316.

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.

On 11 August 1918 Purvis was transferred to the Army Service Corps, Mechanical Transport Branch (No. M/403422). He remained with that regiment until demobilised (or discharged) on 29 May 1919.

After the war Purvis returned to Belfast and resumed work as a draper. On 13 April 1925 he married Violet Patricia Kennedy. He died at his home, 224 Crumlin Road, Belfast, on 3 July 1947 and was buried in the City Cemetery.


Northern Whig and Belfast Post, 4 July 1947