Private William Wilson


The background of this North Irish Horseman is not known at present, other than that he was from Enniskillen, County Fermanagh.

William Wilson enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 18 February 1911 (Regimental No.580 – later Corps of Hussars No.71043) at the same time as a Robert John Wilson (No.579) from Garvary, Enniskillen. It is therefore possible that he was Robert John's older brother William James. This man was born on 12 May 1892 at Garvary, the second of six children of farmer Robert Wilson and his wife Sarah (née Brown). At the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Garvary with his parents, siblings and an uncle, and working on the family farm.

Wilson embarked for France with A Squadron on 17 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

A Squadron served as escort and bodyguard to the BEF's commander-in-chief at St Omer from October 1914 until January 1916, when it was posted as divisional cavalry to the 55th Division. In May 1916 the squadron came together with E 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.

On 21 August 1918 the Advance to Victory offensive began in the Somme sector. The North Irish Horse cyclists saw much action, losing seven other ranks killed and one missing believed killed and two officers and 25 other ranks wounded, from 21 to 31 August.

This was probably the time that Private Wilson was wounded. (War Office Weekly Casualty List, 24 September 1918.)

On 21 February 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.


This page last updated 10 March 2023.