Private James Irvine Reynolds


Reynolds in 1949


James Irvine Reynolds was born on 23 March 1896 at the Shipquay Street Buildings, Londonderry, the seventh of nine children of clerk and commercial traveller James Irvine Reynolds and his wife Ellen (nee Graham). By 1911 he was living with his parents, five siblings and an aunt at Shipquay Street and working as a shop assistant in the gas works.

Reynolds enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 31 August 1914 (No.1056 – later Corps of Hussars No.71214). He embarked for France on 18 December 1914, one of a draft of twenty reinforcements for A and C Squadrons – the first such group sent to France. Reynolds was posted to A Squadron.

In April 1915 he spent twenty days in the No.4 Stationary Hospital at St Omer, suffering from scabies.

Reynolds remained with the regiment throughout the war. On 27 March 1919 he was transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war Reynolds worked as an electrican engineer. On 2 July 1929 he married Margaret Rhona Deane at St Finian's Church of Ireland Parish Church, Lower Moville, County Donegal. He died at Londonderry on 8 November 1963.


Throughout the war Private Reynolds sent home to his family a large number of postcards, some of can be seen at this link. I am most grateful to his grand-daughter, Pauline Avery, for agreeing that they be shown here, together with the image of James Reynolds above.


Two of Reynolds' brothers also served in the war. Robert, a regular soldier in the 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was made a prisoner of war in the first weeks of the war. Thomas, serving in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, was wounded at Gallipoli on 8 May 1915. (See articles below.)


Belfast Evening Telegraph, 19 September 1914


Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph, 29 May 1915