Private Benoni Richard White


Benoni Richard (Dick) White was born on 1 October 1895 at 28 London Street, Belfast, the third of four children of artist Benoni William White and his wife Elizabeth Helen Louise White (née Rose-Cleland). At the time of the 1901 Census he was living at Rathgael, Bangor, with seven aunts, the sisters of his mother. Ten years later he was living at 62 King's Road, Belfast, with his mother and three siblings. They later moved to 83 Antrim Road.

White enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 1 September 1914 (No.1074). His younger brother William Blackwood White enlisted in the regiment just one month later. The brothers were referred to in an article in the County Down Herald of 12 March 1915:

In the interesting history of the Ross-Cleland family, which was published in our columns last week, we omitted to chronicle the interesting fact that two sons of Mrs. White, of Belfast, who was a Miss Ross-Cleland, have been loyal to the martial traditions of the family. We refer to Trumpeter Blackwood White, who is stationed with the North Irish Horse ("A" Squadron) at Cople, near Bedford; and his brother, Trooper Richard White, who is in camp with the North Irish Horse at Antrim.

On 1 May 1915 both brothers embarked for France with D Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 51st Division.

In May 1916 D Squadron came together with A and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps until February-March 1918, when the regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

White remained with the regiment throughout the war. On 2 January 1919 he was transferred to the Labour Corps (No.419404), and on 28 March that year he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. He later applied for a pension for an injury to his right foot, 'disordered action of the heart' and neurasthenia.