Private James Noble


James Noble (standing left). The other soldier is his brother Alexander.


James Noble was born on 22 June 1897 at Derryoree, Brookeborough, County Fermanagh, the eighth of ten children of agricultural labourer William Alexander Noble and his wife Mary Anne (née McClintock). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Mongibbaghan, Brookeborough, with his parents and two of his sisters.

Noble enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron between 2 and 7 June 1915 (No. UD/261). After training at the squadron's reserve depot at Enniskillen he embarked for France between 1916 and the first half of 1917.

In June 1916 the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron combined with C and F Squadrons of the North Irish Horse to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men transferred to the infantry. Like most, Noble was posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – on 20 September, joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. He was issued regimental number 41090.

Little more is known about Noble's service with the 9th (NIH) Battalion for the remainder of the war. He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917, and perhaps also during the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 and the fighting on the Ypres front the following month.

Noble was wounded on 4 September 1918 when  the 9th (NIH) Battalion took part in an attack south of Wulverghem on the Ypres front, at the beginning of the Advance to Victory offensive. The battalion's casualties for the day were four officers wounded, and 17 other ranks killed, 67 wounded and 11 missing. According to its war diary:

8 a.m. Battle. H.Q. was formed at T.10.d.05.80. and under an artillery barrage the battalion, in conjunction with other battalions on flanks, attacked. Good progress was made. 'D' Coy lost direction and got as far as Stinking Farm (U.7.a). Not being protected on flanks the enemy attempted to cut them off and the Coy had to retire. Our line was established from road (T.6.d.35.80) where touch was made with the 30th Div., along hedge running south through T.6.d.4.0 to river in T.12.b then along breastwork trench from T.12.c.50.35 – T.18.a.80.90, with the gap between 'B' and 'A' Coys. D Coy was put in support along road running south through T.6.c and T.12.a. The enemy were not very numerous but their m.g. fire was heavy. The shelling was fairly heavy but was confined to vicinity of St Quentin Cabaret. During the operation Battle H.Q. was moved to T.5.d.80.40. Six prisoners were made, four of whom were sent through 29th Div. on the right. Some of our men on the right were cut off and are thought to be made prisoners. The 29th Div. took Hill 63 but did not come up far enough to cover our right flank. During the day there was an amount of sniping and m.g. fire and the enemy shelled St Quentin Cabaret and T.12.a with 5.9. In the afternoon he attempted a counter-attack by coming up along railway between 'B' and 'A' Coy. but was driven back by m.g. and rifle fire. At dusk our patrols were pushed forward to get the line behind Bristol Castle but were unable to do so owing to m.g.


Three of Noble's brothers, Alexander, Thomas and John, also served in the war.


Image kindly provided by Ray Noble.