Private John Wallace


John Wallace was born on 11 December 1898 at Riverside, Antrim, County Antrim, the seventh of eleven children of bleach-green labourer James Wallace and his wife Sarah (née Murphy). His father died when he was just nine years old. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 9 Massereene Street, Antrim, with his mother and seven of his siblings.

Wallace enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 3 June 1915 (No.1662). He was just sixteen years old at the time. He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France on 7 August 1917, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Wallace, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. Wallace was issued regimental number 41345.

No information has been discovered about Wallace's service with the 9th (NIH) Battalion through the latter part of 1917 and during 1918. Soon after the war he re-enlisted in the Royal Irish Fusiliers Special Reserve (No.7042138). He was discharged on 6 October 1921.

Wallace died at his home at Massereene on 9 February 1969, and was buried in the Antrim Cemetery.


Two of Wallace's brothers – Thomas and William, also served in the war, in the Royal Irish Rifles. On 3 September 1915 the Ballymena Observer reported that:

Intimation has reached Antrim that Rifleman Thomas Wallace, 6th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, was wounded in action at the Dardanelles, and is now in hospital at Chelsea. Two other brothers are also with the colours, William serving with the 11th Battalion R.I.R. at Seaford, and John at Antrim with the North Irish Horse. Their widowed mother resides at Massereene.

William Wallace was killed in action on the Somme on 1 July 1916.

On 16 November 1935 the Ballymena Weekly Telegraph reported that:

Armistice Day was solemnly observed in Antrim. ... An absentee at the service was Mrs. Sarah Wallace, Massereene, Antrim, who, on former occasions, attended the Armistice service and personally placed a wreath in memory of two of her sons who made the supreme sacrifice. Mrs. Wallace, unfortunately, is in the Massereene Hospital as a result of an accident. She, however, sent the customary tribute.