Private James Wilson


The background of this North Irish Horseman is not known for certain. He may, however, be the James Wilson shown in the Presbyterian Church of Ireland Roll of Honour as living in Grampian Avenue, Belfast, having served as a private in the North Irish Horse. This man was born on 3 July 1894 at 37 Witham Street, Belfast, the twelfth of fourteen children of shipwright (later boilermaker) William Wilson and his wife Sarah Jane (née Todd). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 28 Grampian Avenue with his parents and three of his five surviving siblings, and working as an apprentice clerk in a shipbuilding firm.

Wilson enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 25 or 26 May 1915 (No.1621 – later Corps of Hussars No.71476). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France sometime between 1916 and 1918, possibly with E Squadron on 11 January 1916.

In May 1916 E Squadron came together with A and D 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. It then served as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

Wilson remained with the regiment throughout the war. On 19 February 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.