Lance Corporal John Rea



This North Irish Horseman was probably the John Rea born on 19 November 1894 at 25 Westmoreland Street, Belfast, the sixth of seven children of iron moulder James Rea and his wife Mary Jane (née Johnston). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living in Cambrai Street, Belfast, with his parents and four of his five surviving siblings and working as a pattern-maker. They later lived at 177 Shankill Road, 12 Century Street.

Rea enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 25 or 26 May 1915 (No.1623). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot before embarking for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, possibly with E Squadron on 11 January 1916.

On 9 July 1917 Rea was one of around thirty North Irish Horsemen who, being no longer physically fit for front-line service due to injury, age or illness, were transferred to the Labour Corps and posted to No.664 Home Service Labour Company. Rea was issued regimental number 333718.

Soon after, however, between 1 and 16 August, he transferred back to the North Irish Horse (Corps of Hussars No.71932). He remained with the regiment until the end of the war. On 5 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war, Rea returned to Century Street. On 20 March 1922 he married Sarah Kennedy Stewart at the Townsend Street Presbyterian Church.


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