Private James Wade


James Wade was born on 18 June 1894 at Hillsboro, Lisburn, County Down, the fourth of six children of Royal Irish Constabulary sergeant (later head constable) James Wade and his wife Elizabeth (née Crawford). His father died when he was just eight years old. The family had moved to Belfast around 1898. B2y the time of the 1911 Census, James was living at 24 Sandhurst Gardens with his mother and four of his siblings and working as an apprentice to a linen merchant.

Wade enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 26 or 27 January 1915 (No.1427). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France on 17 November 1915 with F Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 33rd Division.

In June 1916 F Squadron combined with C 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. By then, however, Wade had returned to Antrim, perhaps due to illness, injury or wounds. It is probable that he was one of the around thirty around thirty North Irish Horsemen no longer physically fit for front-line service who were transferred to the Labour Corps and posted to No.664 Home Service Labour Company on 9 July 1917. It appears, based on the records of some of these men, that they continued to serve at the North Irish Horse reserve depot at Antrim.

In late 1917, however, Wade was transferred back to the North Irish Horse (No.71931). In January 1918 he embarked for Egypt with a draft of men from the Antrim camp. There he was attached to the 1/1st Nottinghamshire Yeomanry (Sherwood Rangers).

In December 1918 Wade was admitted to hospital in Alexandria suffering from malaria. He returned to the UK, and on 16 July 1919 was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

Soon after the war, Wade was living with his mother at 43 Sandymount Street, Belfast. By 1957 he was living at 8 Bingham Street, Bangor, County Down, and working as a clerk. He died there on 20 October, and was buried in the Clandeboye Cemetery.


Wade's medals (below) include a French Croix de Guerre. To date I have not found any information about when he received this award.



Medal image provided by William Gordon.