Private William Smyth


William Smyth was born in Shankill, Belfast, in 1882. On 9 September 1902 at Belfast he enlisted in the Royal Irish Fusiliers at (No.7648). He gave his occupation as groom, and stated that he had previously served in the 3rd Scottish Rifles. He joined the regiment at Armagh where, after a period of training, on 5 December 1902 he was posted to the 1st Battalion. On 20 January the following year, however, he was discharged, being found "medically unfit for further service".

In 1904 Smyth married Liverpool-born Mary McAleavey at Rostrevor, County Down. The couple had five children over the next ten years. By the time of the 1911 Census they were living at 79 Queen Street, Newry, County Down, William working as a coachman and domestic servant. They later lived in Water Street, Rostrevor.

Smyth enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Newry on 3 September 1914 (No.1215). On 1 December 1914, after just three months' service, he was invalided out (paragraph 154(xi) Special Reserve Regulations). His military character was recorded as 'indifferent'.

Undeterred, Smyth travelled to Scotland. There, on 5 April 1915, he enlisted in the Army Service Corps at the Lathom Park Remount Depot, Ormskirk (No. R/4/063584). Later that month, however, on 29 April, he was again discharged, 'not being likely to become an efficient soldier' (paragraph 392(iii), King's Regulations).