North Irish Horse war diaries
The commander of every British Army unit was required to keep a record of each day's events while on overseas service in time of war. This was to include important orders, despatches and instructions, location, duties of staff, the weather, state of the roads and ground, casualties and the comings and goings of officers, "all matters of importance, military and political", and "in what respect organizations and regulations have stood the test of war". Commanders interpreted these instructions very differently, perhaps depending on the administrative diligence of their staff. Lieutenant-Colonel Cole, for example, often though it sufficient to make a single monthly entry for A Squadron and the 1st Regiment North Irish Horse ("Humbercourt. Corps Cavalry duties"). Others found time to record detailed accounts of everything from the movement of clothing requisitions to the score in the inter-Battalion football match.
A typical war diary page is shown below. This one, from the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, records that on 25 September 1917 "304 O.R. from NORTH IRISH HORSE joined Battn today, our Band playing them in to RUYAULCOURT where they were toasted right royally."
The original War Diaries for all North Irish Horse and associated units in the First World War are held in the National Archives at Kew, London. The attached transcriptions have been taken from images of the originals kindly provided by Hugh Vaugh.
The transcriptions are, to the extent possible, word-for-word, with the following exceptions. For ease of reading and clarity I have standardised capitalisation and some punctuation, corrected obvious spelling errors, spelled-out most acronyms and replaced abbreviations with full text. In all cases where the meaning is not clear or may be subject to alternative interpretations, I have retained the original. No doubt there are some errors - these are mine alone.
The diaries are as follows (National Archives War Office reference number shown in brackets):
A Squadron North Irish Horse
5 August 1914 to 31 December 1915 (95/86)
1 January to 9 May 1916 (95/2914)
C Squadron North Irish Horse
1 July 1915 to 30 June 1916 (95/1399)
D Squadron North Irish Horse
1 May 1915 to 30 April 1916 (95/2854)
E Squadron North Irish Horse
11 January to 30 April 1916 (95/2445)
F Squadron North Irish Horse
16 November 1915 to 31 May 1916 (95/2413)
1 June to 30 June 1916 (95/874)
6th Inniskilling Dragoons (Service Squadron)
5 October 1915 to 31 May 1916 (95/2496)
1 June to 30 June 1916 (95/874)
1st Regiment North Irish Horse
1 June to 31 December 1916 (95/874)
1 January to 31 July 1917 (95/816)
1 August 1917 to 31 March 1918 (95/874)
2nd Regiment North Irish Horse
4 July 1916 to 31 August 1917 (95/874)
V Corps Cyclist Regiment (North Irish Horse)
1 April 1918 to 31 May 1919 (95/761)
9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers (95/2505)
These diaries are complete, with the following exceptions: It appears that no diary was kept by C Squadron from 22 August 1914 to 30 June 1915; no diary was kept for D or E Squadrons from 1 to 9 May 1916, the days immediately prior to their forming the 1st Regiment North Irish Horse; no diary was kept for the 1st Regiment from its formation on 10 May 1916 to 31 May; no diary was kept for the 2nd Regiment from its formation on 21 June 1916 to 3 July.
The Diary transcripts include notes listing all men serving in those units known to have died. The major sources used in compiling these notes and checking diary references are listed below:
Becke, Major A.F. Order of Battle, in History of the Great War, London, HMSO, 1945.
Chester, Gerry. North Irish Horse website, http://www.northirishhorse.org
Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Debt of Honour Register, http://www.cwgc.org
Doherty, Richard. The North Irish Horse: A Hundred Years of Service, Staplehurst, Spelmount, 2002.
Falls, Cyril. The History of the 36th (Ulster) Division, McCaw, Stevenson & Orr Ltd, London, 1922 (reprinted by The Naval & Military Press)
Hutchinson, Lieutenant-Colonel Graham Seton. The Thirty-Third Division in France and Flanders 1915-1919, Naval and Military Press.
James, Brigadier E.A. British Regiments 1914-1918, Samson Books.
London Gazette. http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk.
National Archives (UK). WWI Campaign Medals http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/.
Naval and Military Press. Soldiers Died in the Great Wat 1914-19, CD ROM.
War Office, Soldiers Died in the Great Wat 1914-19: Part 1 Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line (including Yeomanry and Imperial Camel Corps), HMSO, London, 1921 (reprinted by J.B Hayward & Son 1988).
War Office, Soldiers Died in the Great Wat 1914-19: Part 68 Princess Victoria's (Royal Irish Fusiliers), HMSO, London, 1921 (reprinted by Picton Publishing (Chippenham) Ltd 1988).