Private Nevin Smyth


Nevin Smyth was born on 8 February 1896 at Stroan, Dervock, County Antrim, the last of six children of farmer Samuel Smyth and his wife Jane (nee Moore). By 1911 he was living on the family farm at Stroan with his parents and two of his older brothers.

Smyth enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 6 and 8 December 1915 (No.2025).

At the end of December 1916 he was one of forty North Irish Horsemen who volunteered to transfer to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. The transfer took place on 9 January 1917, and on the same day they embarked for France, where they were posted to the 10th Battalion, joining it at Ploegsteert Wood on the Ypres front. Smyth was issued regimental number 40665.

He probably saw action with the battalion at Messines, Ypres and Cambrai in 1917.

The 10th Battalion was disbanded at the end of January 1918. Smyth was one of 150 of the men transferred to the 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, on 3 February. (The 2nd Battalion had just joined the 36th (Ulster) Division.) Smyth was posted to A Company.

The 2nd Battalion was in the front line on the St Quentin front when the German spring offensive began on the morning of 21 March 1918. Following a heavy and sustained bombardment the 2nd Battalion defences were quickly overrun. By the end of the month, according to the battalion's war diary, they had lost three officers wounded and 21 missing, seven other ranks killed, fifteen wounded and 646 missing. Most of the losses had taken place on the first day, and most of these were prisoners, one being Private Smyth. He was held as a prisoner of war in Germany until released after the Armistice.

After the war Smyth emigrated to New Zealand, where he lived at Wanganui. He died, however, in January 1926, and was buried in the Wanganua (Aramoho) Cemetery.