Second Lieutenant Abraham Talmage (John) Widdess



Abraham Talmage (later Abraham John) Widdess was born on 1 April 1890 at 57 Moyola Street, Belfast, the last of four children of mariner (later ship's master) Abraham and his wife Margaret Jane (nee McMurray). At some time in the next decade the family left Ireland, first living in Scotland and later Wales. By 1911 he was living at 16 Morlais Street, Roath Park, Cardiff, with his mother and one sister, and working as an insurance agent for The Gresham Fire and Accident Insurance Society Ltd. Two years later he married Mildred Harris in Cardiff.

Widdess enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 30 July and 21 August 1916 (No.2236). During the first half of 1917 he embarked for France, where he was posted to B or C Squadron of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment.

In September 1917 the 2nd NIH was dismounted and most of its men trained as infantrymen. Like the majority, Widdess was transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – on 20 September. He was issued regimental number 41219.

Soon after, he applied for a commission and returned to the UK for officer cadet training. He was appointed 2nd lieutenant on 26 June 1918 and posted to 14th (Reserve) Battalion, The Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire Regiment).

On 7 August 1918 he was attached to the Royal Air Force and sent for training at the No.1 School of Aviation. From late 1918 he undertook gunnery training. He was demobilised and relinquished his commission on 4 September 1919.

During World War 2 an Abraham John Widdess served in the RAF as a pilot officer and flight lieutenant (No.81248). This appears to be the same man, although he would have been in his 50s at the time. He relinquished his commission on 10 February 1954.

He died in Surrey in 1964.


Image sourced from Ancestry - contributor Julia MacMurray.