Corporal Alfred Ruscoe


Alfred Ruscoe was born in the last months of 1880 in Kingsland, London, the second of three children of unemployed coal miner and labourer Thomas George Ruscoe and his wife Mary Ann (née Hollingshead). His mother died when he was about six years old. On 21 April 1897 he enlisted at London in the 3rd Dragoon Guards (No.3793). He served in South Africa in the Boer War from 21 January 1901, returning to the UK on 3 April 1904, where he was transferred to the Army Reserve. He served in Section D of the reserve from 1909 to 1913, when he was discharged.

Ruscoe married Elizabeth Coyne in the Church of Ireland's St John's Church in Newcastle, County Down, on 26 April 1905. He gave his occupation as tramway official, and his address as 491 Keppochhill Road, Glasgow. The couple had four children over the next eight years. By the time of the 1911 Census they were living at 14 Daisyfield Street, Shankill, Belfast, Alfred working as a tramway conductor. They later lived at 4 Glenfarne Street.

Ruscoe enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Belfast on 13 September 1914 (No.1216 – later Corps of Hussars No.71285). On 20 January 1915 he embarked for France with a reinforcement draft for A and C Squadrons. He was probably posted to the former.

In May 1916 A Squadron came together with D and E 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.

On 1 August 1916 Ruscoe was admitted to No.2 Canadian General Hospital at le Treport suffering from a septic finger. It was not until 24 October that he was discharged to base.

Ruscoe remained with the regiment throughout the war. On 2 March 1919 he returned to the UK, and on 31 March he was discharged as 'surplus to military requirements, having suffered impairment since entry into the service' (paragraph 392 xvi(a), King's Regulations). His military character was recorded as 'very good'. He was awarded a pension due to bronchitis and rheumatism, which were attributed to his military service, his level of disability assessed at 20 per cent in January 1920.

After the war Ruscoe returned to work on the Belfast tramways. By 1947 he was living at 72 Glencairn Crescent, Belfast. He died there on 18 September, and was buried in Newcastle.


Ruscoe's son James served in World War 2 as a gunner in the Royal Artillery. He was made a prisoner of war in 1940.


Belfast Telegraph, 28 January 1929


Larne Times, 13 July 1940