Private Alexander Smyth


Alexander Smyth was born on 15 October 1895 at Altnagelvin, Glendermott, County Londonderry, the second of four children of famer (later weighmaster and markets superintendent) David Dickson Smyth and his wife Lizzie (nee Donnell). By 1911 he was living with his parents, siblings and grandmother at 6 Dunfield Terrace, Londonderry, and working as a clerk in the coal office.

Smyth enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 2 September 1914 (No.1085). 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. Smyth was probably posted to C Squadron.

In June 1916, C Squadron joined with F Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and most of its men were transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion. Like most of the men, Smyth was transferred on 20 September. He was issued a new regimental number – 41498.

Smyth saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai and was wounded, probably in the fighting for the village of Moeuvres on 22 and 23 November 1917, or south of Marcoing from 3 to 16 December.

The wound must have been severe, for on 28 May 1918 he was discharged as being no longer physically fit for any type of military service.