Private William Frederick Rutherford


William Frederick Rutherford was born on 2 August 1889 at Screeby, Tempo, County Tyrone, the second of eight children of farmer Thomas Rutherford and his wife Elizabeth (née Jones). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Edenclaw, near Ederney, County Fermanagh, with his parents and five siblings and working on the family farm.

Rutherford enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 13 January and 1 February 1913 (No.786). He embarked for France with C Squadron on 20 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne. On 23 March 1915 he was admitted to No.10 Stationary Hospital, St Omer, seriously ill with enteric fever (typhoid). It was two months before his health had recovered, and then it is likely that he was sent to the UK to recuperate.

Rutherford may have remained at the North Irish Horse reserve depot at Antrim for some time after that. A report in the Larne Times mentions a Trooper Rutherford as a singer in the North Irish Horse 'glee party' in March 1917.

Soon after, however, he was sent to France, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments. In 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 infantry. Like most, Rutherford joined the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – on 20 September. He was issued regimental number 41416. It is likely that he saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Rutherford was one of the many posted as missing following the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March during the German spring offensive. It was later learned that he had been captured. He remained a prisoner until the end of the war.

Following his repatriation, Rutherford was discharged on 14 March 1919. He was awarded a pension, though records do not show the nature of his disability. He returned to farming at Edenclaw, but contracted tuberculosis. He died there on 11 January 1921, aged 31.