Private Thomas McCurrie

 

Thomas McCurrie (or McCurry) was born in 1891 at Whitehaven, Cumberland, England, the eighth of eleven children of Irish-born iron ore miner John McCurrie and his wife Margaret (formerly Foster). Prior to 1901 his family moved to Belfast and by 1911 he was living at McCandless Street, Shankill, with his widowed mother, four brothers and one sister, and working as a mineral water bottler. Later they lived at 67 Wall Street.

McCurrie enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron between 14 and 16 November 1914 (No. UD/144). He embarked for France with his squadron on 6 October 1915. At the time they were serving as divisional cavalry to the 36th (Ulster) Division.

In August 1917 orders came that the Inniskilling squadron, by then part of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, would be dismounted and the men transferred to the infantry. McCurrie was one of 70 men given the job of conducting the regiment's horses to Egypt. They embarked from Marseilles on board HMT Bohemian on 25 August. After a month at Alexandria they returned to France, through Italy. On 5 October they arrived at the 36th (Ulster) Division Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur for infantry training.

After just a few days they were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion, joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt on 12 October. McCurrie was issued regimental number 41606 and posted to C Company. He probably saw action with the battalion during the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

McCurrie was one of the many of the 9th Battalion listed as missing following the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive. In fact he had been captured near Nesle on 27 March. He was released following the Armistice on 11 November and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 6 April 1919.