Private John Somerville


John Somerville was born on 11 February 1890 at Lislane, Fivemiletown, County Tyrone, the third of four children of farmer John Somerville and his wife Agnes (nee McClean). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Lislane with his parents and working on the family farm.

Somerville enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 28 June and 29 July 1912 (No.715). He embarked for France with C Squadron on 20 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

In June 1916 C Squadron combined 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 its men transferred to the infantry. Like most, Somerville joined the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – on 20 September. He was issued regimental number 41541. It is likely that he saw action with the battalion in the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Somerville was wounded either during the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 or during the fighting near Kemmel Hill the following month.

He was wounded a second time during the early phase of the Advance to Victory offensive from August to November 1918.