Private Thomas Graham Wilson


Thomas Graham Wilson was born on 2 May 1893 in Andersonstown, Belfast, the first of six children of commercial traveller in stationery Thomas Wilson and his wife Alice (née Kirkwood). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 535 Falls Road, Belfast, with his widowed father, two siblings and an aunt, and working as a druggist and grocery apprentice.

Wilson enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 30 December 1914 and 1 January 1915 (No.1370). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, probably with E Squadron on 11 January 1916.

In May and June 1916 A, D and E Squadrons combined to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, and C and F Squadrons joined the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, each serving as corps cavalry units. In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Wilson, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion. Wilson was issued regimental number 41337.

Soon after, however, he was transferred back to the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment (No.71358). In February-March 1918 this regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit. This meant a 25 per cent reduction in its numbers, and it is likely that this was the time that Wilson was transferred to the 19th (Queen Alexandra’s Own Royal) Hussars, and later the 8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars.

In early October Wilson was transferred to the Labour Corps (No.635752) and was posted to No.839 Area Employment Company (one report suggests that he had been wounded). Soon after, he fell-ill with influenza and was admitted to the 2nd General Hospital before being send to a convalescent depot. On 28 April 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. He was granted a pension, his level of disability assessed at 100 per cent in April 1920 (this had improved to 20-30% by June 1922).

Soon after the war he was living at the home of his uncle Adam Graham at Rose Lodge, Andersonstown.


Wilson's brother William also served in the war, with the Irish Guards. He was killed in action on 14 September 1917.