Private Thomas McCormick Woodburn


Thomas McCormick Woodburn was born on 4 July 1894 at 14 Agincourt Avenue, Belfast, the tenth of twelve children of shirt factory manager (also recorded as lapper and linen merchant) George Woodburn and his wife Ellen (née McKittrick). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 127 Agincourt Avenue with his widowed mother, seven siblings, two nieces and a nephew, and working as a sewing machine mechanic. Soon after this he was living at 37 Sandymount Street.

Woodburn enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 27 May 1915 (probably No.1622 or 1624). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp until November 1916, when he and around 100 other North Irish Horsemen volunteered to transfer to the Royal Irish Rifles. The formal transfer took place on 7 December (Woodburn was issued regimental number 40931), and on that day the men embarked for France. There they were posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, joining it on the Somme front on 12 December.

Woodburn was wounded in the right foot in August or September 1917, possibly on 16 August during the Battle of Langemarck, part of Third Ypres. The injury was a serious one, and he was discharged, being 'no longer physically fit for war service' (paragraph 392 (xvi), King's Regulations), on 12 March 1918. He was awarded a pension, his level of disability being assessed at 30 per cent.


Woodburn's brother William Woodburn also served in the North Irish Horse during the war.