Private David Wilson


David Wilson was born on 1 March 1870 in Reilly Street, Banbridge, County Down, one of at least three children of weaver David Wilson and his wife Ann (née Gibson).

On 8 February 1887, at the age of 18, Wilson enlisted at Belfast in the East Yorkshire Regiment (No.2524). He served with the regiment in South Africa (1890-93), Egypt (1893-95), and India (1895-97), before returning home in April 1897, when he was transferred to the Army Reserve.

On 8 April 1898 Wilson married Margaret Thompson at the Townsend Street Presbyterian Church, Shankill, Belfast. The couple had seven children over the next fifteen years.

Discharged on completion of his twelve years' service on 7 February 1899 (his character recorded as 'good'), Wilson was recalled to his regiment on 14 January 1900, serving in South Africa in the Boer War from March that year until August 1902. (He was slightly wounded on 11 June 1900.) He was demobilised on his return to the UK, and discharged on 5 May 1903.

Wilson then enlisted in the Royal Garrison Regiment at Belfast on 4 January 1904 (No.7807). He served with that regiment in South Africa from June 1904 to July 1905, before being discharged at his own request on 14 August that year.

At the time of the 1911 Census Wilson was living at Oldpark Farmyard, Belfast, with his wife and four children, and working as a red leader in a shipyard.

Wilson enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Belfast on 9 September 1914 (No.1188 – later Corps of Hussars No.71270). He was 44 years old at the time. On 20 January 1915 he embarked for France with a reinforcement draft for A and C Squadrons.

Wilson remained with the regiment throughout the war, though how much time he spent in France and Belgium and how much at the Antrim reserve depot is not known at present. On 20 February 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. He was later granted a partial pension for a disability contracted in or aggravated by his army service.

Soon after the war he was living at at 30 Paris Street, Belfast.