Private Thomas John Williamson


Thomas John Williamson was born on 13 July 1897 at Caledon, County Tyrone, the first of three children of agricultural labourer Annie Williamson. His mother married six years later, to a man named Patrick Meehan, a shoemaker. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living in Church Hill Street, Caledon, with his mother, a half-brother and an aunt.

Williamson enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 10 and 12 August 1914 (No.991). Just over a week later he embarked for France as part of C Squadron, seeing action in the Retreat from Mons and Advance to the Aisne.

C Squadron served as corps headquarters cavalry until April 1915, when it was attached as divisional cavalry to the 3rd Division. On 15 October 1915 Williamson was admitted to the 18th General Hospital at Camiers suffering from an incised wound to his upper hip from barbed wire, the result of an accident. He was able to return to his squadron after a fortinight.

In June 1916 C Squadron joined with F Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, attached as corps cavalry to X Corps. The regiment was then based on the Somme front. On 10 July 1916 the regimental war diary included the following entry:

7.0 pm The regt under Major Waring strength 80 per Squadron proceeded to clear up the battlefield in La-Boisselle. Horses were left W of Albert. The Squadrons were attached to 7th & 75th Inf. Brigades. during work they came under continual heavy shell fire. Work was discontinued just before dawn. The Regt arrived back in Camp at 5.A.M. Casualties. Wounded. 790 Pte Ramsay J 'B' Squadron N.I.H., 991 Pte Williamson T.J. 'C' Squadron.

Williamson, wounded in the chest, was evacuated to the UK for treatment. He recovered slowly and on 9 July 1917 was transferred to the Labour Corps (No.333726) and posted to No.664 Home Service Labour Company, probably serving at the North Irish Horse reserve depot at Antrim. In late October or early November 1917 he had recovered sufficiently to enable his transfer back to the North Irish Horse (Corps of Hussars No.71988).

In January 1918 Williamson embarked for Egypt with a draft of North Irish Horsemen from the Antrim depot. There he was attached to the 1/1st Staffordshire Yeomanry (Queen's Own Royal Regiment), serving with that regiment in the Palestine campaign.

On 1 September 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. He was granted a pension due to his wound, his level of disability assessed at 40 per cent in April 1920.

After the war Williamson moved to England. At the time of the 1939 Register he was living at 14 Wigan Lane, Huddersfield, and working as a builder's labourer.