Private Andrew Smith


This North Irish Horseman was almost certainly the Andrew Thomas Smyth (or Smith) born on 2 February 1884 at Copney, Omagh, County Tyrone, the fifth of eight children of farmer William Smyth and his wife Matilda (nee Kyle). His mother died when he was just seven years old. It appears that he was subsequently raised by his uncle and aunt, David and Chirstina Kyle, at their farm at Mullaghslin Glebe, County Tyrone. The 1901 Census shows him living there with his sister Maggie and a cousin, and working as a ploughboy. He was still there in 1911.

Smith enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 16 November and 28 December 1911 (No.639 – later Corps of Hussars No.71051). He embarked for France with A Squadron on 17 August 1914, seeing action with the squadron at the Battle of Le Cateau on 26 August.

Wounded in the left pectoral region, Smith was left behind when the British forces withdrew, and was captured by the Germans on 27 August. He thus became the first North Irish Horseman captured during the war.

Smith was held as a prisoner for the remainder of the war. One record shows him at Chemnitz POW camp in March 1918. He was released following the Armistice, returning to England in January 1919. On 25 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war Smith returned to Mullaghslin. He was granted a pension as a result of his wounds, his level of disability assessed at 20 per cent as late as 1922.