Private James Torrens


James Torrens was born on 16 January 1891 at Tamlaght, Kilrea, County Londonderry, the seventh of nine children of farmer Samuel Torrens and his wife Mary Jane (née Woodburn). He trained at the Macosquin Civil Service School and by the time of the 1911 Census was living as a boarder at 28 Hawkins Street, Londonderry, and working as a bank official.

Torrens enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 10 September 1914 (No.1197). On 2 June 1915 he embarked for France with a reinforcement draft for A, C and D Squadrons – he was probably posted to C Squadron.

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, Torrens was posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – on 20 September, joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. He was issued regimental number 41500. He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Torrens was wounded in the left leg during the Advance to Victory offensive from August to November 1918. Evacuated to the UK for treatment, on 27 March 1919 he was discharged, being 'no longer physically fit for war service' (paragraph 392 (xvi), King's Regulations). He was granted a pension due to his wounds – as late as April 1923 his level of disability was assessed at 20 per cent.