In memoriam

Lance Corporal Harold Lionel Irvine

 

 

 

Harold Lionel Irvine was born on 24 February 1894 at Darling Street, Enniskillen, one of the last children of a large family of boot merchant William Irvine and his wife Mary Jane (nee Mayne). His mother died when he was just nine years old. By 1911 he was working as a clerk in Enniskillen's Scotch Stores.

Irvine joined the UVF's mounted force, the Enniskillen Horse – a report from 1914 listing him as one of the units three trumpeters.

He enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron at Enniskillen between 1 and 3 March 1915 (No. UD/223 – later Corps of Dragoons No.21264). On 6 October 1915 he embarked for France with his squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 36th (Ulster) Division. In June 1916 the Inniskillings became part of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps.

During the first week of the Battle of the Somme in July 1916 the Inniskillings squadron took a number of casualties as a result of enemy artillery fire. Irvine was one of these, a report later that month stating he was suffering from shell-shock.

Irvine was evacuated to the UK for treatment. After he recovered he served at the Inniskilling squadron's reserve depot at Enniskillen. In October 1918 he fell ill with influenza and was admitted to the town's military hospital. The condition worsened to pneumonia and he died there on 26 October.

Lance Corporal Irvine was buried with military honours on 29 October at Breandrum Cemetery, County Fermanagh, grave 3.221. The gravestone inscription reads:

D/21264 LANCE CORPORAL
H. IRVINE
6TH DRAGOON GUARDS
26TH OCTOBER 1918

 

Note – Irvine's original gravestone (below) incorrectly showed him as belonging to the 6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers). This was recently corrected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

 

 

Second gravestone image kindly provided by Steve Rogers, Project Co-ordinator of the The War Graves Photographic Project, www.twgpp.org. First gravestone image and newspaper image from the Belfast Evening Telegraph kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster (www.greatwarbelfastclippings.com).