Brief history

 

 

Annual Camp, 1903 to 1914

 

Every Summer the North Irish Horse, and its predecessor the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry, assembled at various places around Ulster or at the Curragh for training. Below are reports of each of these camps.

 

1903 - Blackrock, Dundalk, County Louth

NORTH OF IRELAND YEOMANRY.

On Tuesday the North of Ireland regiment of Imperial Yeomanry concentrated at the cavalry barracks, Dundalk, for the first annual training of 14 days, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel the Earl of Shaftesbury, Belfast Castle. The regiment is made up of the following squadrons, all of which are considerably below their proper strength – "A" squadron, Belfast; "B" squadron, Ballymena; "C" squadron, Dundalk; "D" squadron, Enniskillen, with small detachments in various other towns. The regiment has a strength of some 170 rank and file. The Ballymena detachment numbering about twenty-five left by 9.39 a.m. train on Tuesday morning and joined the Belfast detachment, which left at midday train to Dundalk. The men looked very smart, and all were exceptionally well mounted. Under the new adjutant, Captain R.G.O. Bramston-Newman, 7th Dragoon Guards, they have been brought into a soldier like lot, and we have no doubt but that they will give a good account of themselves during their first training, particularly as his lordship took every precaution against submitting any recruits save those who were likely to be a credit to the regiment.

(Ballymena Observer, 31 July 1903)

 

1904 - Finner Camp, Bundoran, County Donegal

SKETCHES OF NORTH OF IRELAND YEOMANRY AT FINNER CAMP.
IN THE YEOMANRY CAMP.
"BATTLE OF BALLYSHANNON"
FINNER CAMP. Saturday.

Ballyshannon was in a regular flutter this morning.Rumours were in evidence that a general attack was to be made on the town. The inhabitants of this pretty little town by the hills turned out at an early hour, and long before the real object of the military manoeuvres was announced, squadrons of yeomanry, attired in khaki, were arriving in the town. Today was market as well as fair day and naturally a large crowd of visitors were in the little town by the Erne. The men paraded at the bridge, and looked exceptionally well. Every man was rigged out in full fighting attire, with rifle slung, and all the prospects of a good fight were in evidence. The general idea of the operations was that the yeomen, of "Blues," were an invading army coming in to attack Finner Camp, and practically camture Ballyshannon. The Yeos(?) were supposed to come from Sligo, and the rallying point was at the cross roads of Beleek, the centre of the famous pottery manufactories. Here the invaders assembled at a very early hour, and scouts and vedettes were at once thrown out. "A" or the Belfast squadron made tracks for Bundoran, and successfully reached this popular watering place without any interruption. At Ashbrook, a place some miles from Ballyshannon, the Connaughts, or "Reds," defending force, were carefully concealed and successfully escaped the observation of the invaders. In the meantime a considerable number of the yeomen had been detailed off to watch Ballyshannon, and after evading the "Reds" scouts, succeeded in occupying the town at an early hour. Long before nine o'clock the streets of "ballyshanny," as it is called locally, were occupied by khaki clad yeomen. Needless to say, the inhabitants all turned out to watch the evolutions. A dosmounted party of about 40 men was sent up the road towards Finner to reconnoitre, but no signs of the enemy were visible. After some stiff outpost duty the scouts returned, but nowhere could the enemy be seen, so carefully had the Connaughts concealed themselves. Eventually word was brought into town that one or two yeomanry scouts had been captured by the Connaughts at a place described as Paddy Smith's Bridge, and subsequently this news(?) was confirmed. Bundoran and Ballyshannon were now occupied in force by the enemy, or "Blues," and everything looked bad for the Connaughts. However, the latter, by dint of smart manoeuvring, succeeded in getting the advantage as far as cover went, but we are not in a position at present to say what was the result of the battle. The engagement, which occupied some time, covered a considerable area of ground, and the greatest interest was taken in the day's proceedings by the people of the vicinity, who have already got to think a great deal of the yeomanry. The latter are certainly well trained, and a finer set of officers and men could scarcely be found.

ITEMS OF INTEREST.

The Connaughts have already renewed many old acquaintances in Bundoran and Ballyshannon, and both towns are pretty lively every night.

Even in the morning we can see numerous crowds of people on the bridge - from which, by the way, a lovely view can be obtained - watching the local "swells" fishing for salmon.

Great value is expected on Monday. The sports are coming off and include Victoria Cross races and many other events.

Practically all Ballyshannon and Bundoran has been invited, and a great days' sport is anticipated.

Every day visitors throng into the camp, not only from Derry, Omagh, Strabane, Clones, Enniskillen, Monaghan, but even from Belfast and Dublin many friends of the Yeomen come to see their volunteer friends.

Everybody is enjoying camp. Although we have have several very heavy showers, all are agreed that this is the best holiday that one could have.

"Smokers" are the order of the night, and high old times are being held in the canteen. The greatest good humour prevails, and as a downright jolly place for a holiday Finner Camp cannot be surpassed.

We understand that Generals Leech and Rimington both left camp this afternoon after witnessing the operations. Both officers have been highly pleased with the operations of the Yeomanry and the Connaughts, and the inhabitants of both Ballyshannon and Bundoran have nothing but praise for them.

It will be interesting to our readers to know that no less than 1,000 eggs were consumed every morning in our camp alone, while one of the chefs has a good five hours' work every night in carving 35(?) hames for next morning's breakfast.

The amount of grub consumed is simply marvellous, and the Bloomfield Bakery Company are to be congratulated on their splendid catering arrangements.

Every evening the Yeomen have a little (?)tion at horse-jumping, and it speaks well for their abilities when we record that scarcely more than a couple of falls occurred this week.

(Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph, 9 July 1904)

 

1905 - The Curragh, County Kildare

NORTH OF IRELAND IMPERIAL YEOMANRY.

The Belfast squadron of the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry left for the Curragh by special train on Friday morning for the annual fortnight's training, and have taken up their quarters there. The Enniskillen contingent left by special train at 9.5 o'clock on Friday morning and the Pettigo and Irvinestown contingents travelled by the good train leaving Bundoran at five o'clock a.m. Upon arrival at Clones the Cavan men, who had also travelled to that junction by goods train, were picked up. The Omagh and Derry contingents travelled together by special train. Owning to the absence of Lord Cole on leave the "C" Squadron is under the command of Captian C. C. D'Arcy Irvine during this year's training. He will have under his command two officers and one hundred and five non-commissioned officers and men.

Lord Shaftesbury has arrived in Ireland in order to take over the command of the North of Ireland regiment during the training. The South of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry, under the command of the Marquis of Waterford, will go into training at the Curragh this week, so that the two regiments will have one week together.

(The Dublin Daily Express, 26 June 1905)

The two Irish regiments of Imperial Yeomanry are now under canvas at the Curragh for annual training. The South of Ireland is accommodated in Donnelly's Hollow, and close by are quartered their Northern compatriots. Both regiments are almost at full strength. The Marquis of Waterford is in his place as commander of the Southerns, and the Earl of Shaftesbury is in command of the Northerns. Both regiments are fraternising in a manner which is surprising. So much so is this apparent that in the afternoons almost half of the entire North of Ireland regiment may be found in the lines of the South, and vice versa. The fact of the headgear of the North regiment being different from the South has again caused the vexed question of a suitable headgear for the South to crop up. It will be remembered that the King on his last visit to Ireland expressed himself very highly pleased with the Yeomanry escort supplied by the South regiment, and while commenting on the neat appearance of the uniform, he at the same time expressed a wish that a full dress helmet or hat should be supplied. Indeed, his Majesty promised to furnish a design, but it has not as yet made its appearance.

(The Dublin Daily Express, 4 July 1905)

 

1906 - Ballykinlar Camp, Dundrum, County Down

YEOMANRY TRAINING.

Orders have been issued in respect of the annual training of the North of Ireland Yeomanry (to which belong a strong contingent of Larne young men). The camp this year will be formed at Ballykinlar, commencing on June 22, and continuing for eighteen days.

(Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph, 10 February 1906)

"C" (ENNISKILLEN) SQUADRON IMPERIAL YEOMANRY.

On Friday morning [22 June] the "C" (Enniskillen) Squadron of the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry left Enniskillen by special train for Newcastle en route to Ballykinlar Camp, where the annual training takes place. The troopers, who numbered about 100, all looked smart and fit. They were in excellent spirits, and anticipated the training period as a pleasant break in the routine of business life. The officers in charge of this squadron are - Viscount Cole (Major), Captain D'Arcy Irvine, Lieutenant Barton, Lieutenant Yates, and Sergeant-Major Towner.

(Larne Times, 30 June 1906)

The North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry yesterday had a tactical march from Ballykinlar to Downpatrick, in charge of the Earl of Shaftesbury, with the Marquis of Hamilton, Lord Cole, and other officers, in search of a supposed enemy. After remaining ambushed in Irish street for some time they rode off to camp. It being market day, the unusual occurrence caused considerable excitement while the troopers remained in town.

(The Dublin Daily Express, 27 June 1906)

NORTH OF IRELAND IMPERIAL YEOMANRY.

BALLYKINLAR CAMP, Wednesday.- The reconnaissance towards Downpatrick yesterday was attended by a serious accident, which resulted in a horse receiving fatal injuries. It seems that a protion of the B Squadron had dismounted just outside Tullymurry Station, when a traction engine came along. The horse of Trooper Lowry came into contact with the engine, stumbled in front of it, and was run over. Presumably his backbone was broken, as he died. A board of officers subsequently rode out to the scene of the accident. The traction engine was coming to camp with baggage.

The following promotions and appointments have been made:- No. 191, Lance-Corporal W. J. Dunwoody, to be corporal; No. 112, Lance-Corporal G. Taylor, to be corporal; Private R. H. Jones to be lance-corporal.

This afternoon the casuals of the A Squadron will complete musketry at the range.

(Belfast Telegraph, 28 June 1906)

YEOMAN INJURED AT BALLYKINLAR.

While the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry were engaged in field manoeuvres near Ballykinlar Camp on Saturday a serious accident befel on of the men. While "B" Squadron was crossing some rough ground Trooper Day's horse stumbled in a rabbit warren and fell, throwing its rider heavily and rolling over him. Assistance was promptly rendered the injured man, who, it was found, had broken his collar-bone and suffered from severe shock. After receiving first aid, the trooper was assisted to the camp hospital, where he is reported to be progressing favourably.

(The Dublin Daily Express, 9 July 1906)

 

1907 - The Curragh, County Kildare

MILITIA.

According to a notification issued from the War Office, the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry, with headquarters at Belfast, will on Friday next assemble for the annual training at Curragh Camp, where the regiment will be under canvas until the 8th of next month. The corps will be commanded by Colonel the Earl of Shaftesbury, assisted by Major the Marquis of Hamilton (second in command), Major Maude, Viscount Cole, and Rotherham (squadron commanders), and Captain and Adjutant Bramston-Newman.

(Dublin Daily Express, 19 June 1907)

IRISH YEOMANRY.

SQUADRON AT NEWBRIDGE.

The Belfast Squadron of Yeomanry, under Lieutenant Holt Waring, arrived at Newbridge at 5.30 p.m. on Friday. The squadron, numbering 120 of all ranks, had a pleasant run, and as soon as the horses were unboxed proceeded to the camp, which is about a mile out on the Curragh side. The Enniskillen Squadron arrived about an hour earlier than the Belfast Squadron, which in turn was followed by the Dundalk Squadron. The Londonderry Squadron will arrive early this morning. The weather has kept up wonderfully.

(Belfast Telegraph, 22 June 1907)

MILITARY NOTES.

NORTH OF IRELAND IMPERIAL YEOMANRY.

NEWBRIDGE CAMP, Monday.- This morning the two troops of yeomanry detailed for the Wicklow manoeuvres left the camp. One troop, consisting of Sergeant H. Scott, Corporal McCandless, Corporal McCormick, and 22 men, under the command of Second Lieutenant Charles Norman, was drawn from the B (Londonderry) Squadron, and the other was taken from C (Enniskillen) Squadron, and consists of Sergeants R. S. Scott, J. Shaw, A. Mair, and 22 men, under Second Lieutenant R. L. Yates. The Londonderry troop is attached to the Blue army, and the Enniskillen troop to the Red force. The monoeuvres will last to the 5th inst.

Yesterday the result of the musketry competitions shot off up to the present were announced. Last year, the A Squadron swept the board; this year B Squadron did it. The B Squadron team of eight men won the Ashley Cup from the A Squadron by a number of points, Corporal McDougall, a smart young Lifford yeoman, won the honour of "regimental shot," making a score of 39 points out of a possible 40, and the best recruit's shot went to Trooper T. Graham, who hails from Cavanlea, Strabane. The Squadron team which won the cup consisted of Major E. A. Maude, commanding the squadron, Sergeant J. Murphy (who shot in the regimental team at Bisley last year), Sergeant Taylor, Sergeant McDonnell, Sergeant Whiteside, Corporal McDougall, Corporal Sterritt, and Trooper Young. On the result being announced, Sergeant Major Emby, the popular instructor of the squadron, received many hearty congratulations on the success of his squadrons.

(Belfast Telegraph, 2 July 1907)

 

(Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph, 26 June 1909)

 

1908 - The Curragh, County Kildare

The above photograph, which was taken at the Curragh during the annual training this year, is particularly interesting, in view of the fact that scarcely half of the sergeants in this squadron have rejoined the regiment under the new conditions.

Top row (left to right) - Sergeants J. Dunwoody, Jackson, Raeburn, Tevelyn, A. Dunwoody.
Bottom row - Sergeants Taylor, T. Dunwoody, Sergeant-Major Fryer, Quartermaster-Sergeant Gordon, and Sergeant Booker.

His many friends will be very pleased to learn that Sergeant Booker (Kells), who met with a nasty accident owing to his horse "coming back over" with him while jumping at the sports, has completely recovered, and is as keen on soldiering as ever. Sergt. Booker, who is always the life and soul of the camp, was the means of many men rejoining under the new conditions.

(Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph, 25 July 1908)

 

In this "snap" a group of D. Squadron men, no less than six counties are represented, while "Maggie," the regimental pet, (brought back as a prisoner of war by the scouts from New Ross, Co. Wexford), is also included in the picture. "Maggie" has rejoined under the new conditions.

(Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph, 25 July 1908)

 

Standing (reading from left to right) - Sergeant Harvey (Belfast), Trooper T. Graham (Downpatrick), Sergeant-Major Blakley (instructor), Trooper Wilson (Belfast), Sergeant Moore (Downpatrick).
Sitting (reading from left to right) - Sergeant-Farrier Reid (Belfast), Sergeant Hogg (Cookstown), Major Lord Massereene (Squadron Commander), Sergeant R.E. Hunter (Belfast).

(Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph, 26 June 1909)

 

(Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph, 26 June 1909)

 

1909 - Ballykinlar Camp, Dundrum, County Down

NORTH IRISH HORSE OFF TO CAMP.
HOW THE REGIMENT WAS FORMED AND THE MEN WHO MADE IT.

(By A Non-Com.)
The North Irish Horse (late North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry) assembled at Myrlough, Dundrum Bay, County Down, for the first annual training under Mr. Haldane's new scheme, and under vastly different conditions than obtained hitherto in the Yeomanry. The regiment is at full strength and although there had been rumours that the duties this year will be very exacting and severe, all the men assembled as jubilant as a lot of schoolboys going on a picnic.

I have endeavoured in the following article to give a short account of the evolution of the regiment, together with a few, I trust interesting particulars, concerning it, which have not before found their way into print.

HOW THE REGIMENT WAS EVOLVED.
Without delving unnecessarily into ancient history, I might say that on the return of the Irish contingent of Imperial Yeomanry from the South Africa war a reception by the citizens of the loyal city of Belfast was given the men in the Exhibition Hall in the month of February, if I remember right, 1902. At that reception, which was a stirring and memorable one, it was suggested that some steps should be taken to form a permanent body of Volunteers of Yeomanry in Ireland. The idea was received with great warmth and enthusiasm, but the preliminary steps bristled with difficulties. It was pointed out that Ireland had been proclaimed "proscribed" from the Irish Rebellion of '98, and that before any number of men could bear arms or a regiment of Yeomanry be formed a special Act of Parliament would have to be promoted in Parliament. This, the chief difficulty, was tackled with such vigour and determination by the prime movers, chief of whom was the Earl of Shaftesbury, K.C.V.O., that towards the end of the year – on the 18th of December, to be exact – an Act to amend the law relating to Militia and Yeomanry, known as the Militia and Yeomanry Act of 1902, was passed through Parliament and subsequently received the Royal Assent.

RECRUITING COMMENCED.
Recruiting commenced forthwith for the North of Ireland Yeomanry in Belfast and Ulster generally, while at the same time a sister regiment was being gathered together in the metropolis under the style and title of the South of Ireland Yeomanry. This was the first start proper, and Squadron Sergeant-Major Blakley, of the 4th Dragoon Guards, was brought over specially from England to take chage of the recruiting in the North. In a wonderfully short period of time he had gathered together the nucleus of the present regiment. Drills were held almost nightly, and to its credit be it said the new corps was able to make a first appearance in the city on the 27th July, 1903, on the occasion of the King's visit to Belfast, when they formed a dismounted guard of honour at the North-East Agricultural Show Grounds, Balmoral.

COMPLIMENTED BY THE KING.
The King was extremely pleased and gratified, and in no unmistakable terms congratulated the officers in charge (Major E. D. P. Maxwell, of Finnebrogue, and Lieutenant the Hon. H. O'Neill, Shane's Castle, County Antrim, on the general smartness and physique of the men, many of whom displayed the South African medals.

On the following day the regiment, 200 strong, proceeded to Red Barns, Dundalk, for the first annual training, including, of course, detachments from Derry, Enniskillen, and Dundalk.

Nothing of particular note happened in 1904, but in passing I many mention that when the regiment went to Finner Camp that year for training it was at full strength, 476 men. The following year training was carried out in conjunction with the South of Ireland Yeomanry at the famous Donnelly Hollow, Curragh Camp, County Kildare, where cavalry regiments have been lying for the past 150 years. In 1906, the regiment, still at full strength, made Ballykinlar Camp the rendezvous, and the writer well remembers the extremely anxious, though, on the whole, very pleasant times, he spent in that very popular camp. 1907 saw the regiment back at the Curragh, this time the camp being pitched on a higher and dryer ground than at Donnelly's Hollow, and at the same time much nearer the town of Newbridge. It was lucky this was so, as that particular camp was the worst on record, rain falling almost unceasingly every day during the training. Newbridge was again selected by the powers that be for the 1908 camp, and the weather proved a most delightful contrast to that experienced the previous year. Only one shower – and that a sun shower – fell during the entire three weeks, and it was on the evening before the regiment was broken up and disbanded, and prior, as it proved, to its being called together again under greatly changed conditions and under the more dignified title of the North Irish Horse.

The disbandment of the Yeomanry was brought about by Mr. Haldane's new Territorial scheme, which it must be admitted, without reflection on the men, was not very well understood. The colonel (Lord Shaftesbury), however, assembled the entire regiment in a large marquee, and explained the new conditions at some length. The Irish Horse, he explained, would be by no means the Yeomanry under another name. They would be more genuine soldiers, a step above the English and Scottish Territorials, and must send 160 men to the front with the expeditionary forces the moment war broke out, an honour conferred on the Irish Horse and the Irish Horse alone. The colonel concluded amid cheers by making a special appeal to the men, and, to the credit of all concerned, let it be stated that every officer and considerably over half the men rejoined under the new conditions, and then and there was established the North Irish Horse.

TERMS OF ENLISTMENT.
The terms of enlistment are in a great many respects different from the Yeomanry. In the first place, the latter were only enlisted for home defence purposes, but the North Irish Horse and the South Irish Horse must be mobilised the moment war breaks out, and each regiment will sent 160 men out with the expeditionary forces, or, in other words, 160 men must be sent out to the scene of hostilities right away, while the remainder of the regiment is held in readiness to take the field at a moment's notice.

In the English and Scottish Yeomanry or Territorials the annual training is only for a period of fifteen days, whereas twenty-four days is the term now fixed for the Irish Horse. Recruits will be taken on (cross?) Channel Volunteers and trained to ride, but a man must be able to "sit a horse" and not hang on by the reins before being accepted for the North or South irish Horse. A recruit must not be under 18 or more than 25 years of age, not less than 5ft. 3in. in height, with a chest measurement when fully expanded, of at least 34 inches, and fill other exacting conditions too numerous to mention and of interest only to the intending recruit.

READY FOR WAR.
In less than forty-eight hours after war being declared the North Irish Horse would be in readiness to embark for the scene of action. Stored away at the headquarters of the regiment, Skegoneil Avenue, Belfast, stores are packed, neatly arranged and numbered, and only to be touched when war actually breaks out, should that be long or short.

In the event of the regiment receiving orders to mobilise the following are the details for service squadron to be furnished by the squadrons. – Officer to command, the Honourable E. A. Maude, with Captain C. C. D'Arcy Irvine as second in command; Lieutenants E. C. Herdman, D. Ker, R. L. Yates, S. J. Lyle.

To be furnished by A Squadron (Belfast) – Squadron Sergeant-Major Blakley; sergeants, 2; corporals, 2; signalling corporals, 1; shoeing smiths, 2; drivers, 1; signallers, 2; privates, 28.

To be furnished by B Squadron (Derry) – Squadron quartermaster-sergeant; sergeants, 2; corporals, 2; shoeing smiths, 1; saddlers, 1; drivers, 2; signallers, 2; privates, 28.

To be furnished by C Squadron (Enniskillen) – Sergeants, 2; farrier sergeant, 1; corporals, 2; shoeing smith, 1; trumpeter, 1; driver, 1; signallers, 2; privates, 28.

To be furnished by D Squadron (Dundalk) – Sergeants, 2; corporals, 2; shoeing smith corporal, 1; shoeing smith, 1; trumpeter, 1; driver, 1; signallers, 2; privates, 28.

NOT ALL FUN.
Some people imagine that the men go up each year for the sheer fun of playing at soldiers and "divilment" generally, while others more harshly inclined say that they simply go to camp for a cheap holiday and for the purpose of making money. All this is very wide of the mark, and let me say right here that the man who goes to camp for either a holiday or the purpose of raking in the "bawbees" will make the biggest mistake of his life, and will wish before many days are over that he had broken a plate-glass window and gone to jail instead. On the other hand, if the recruit has any patriotic blood in his veins, coupled with a natural love for a horse, is of a serene temper and willing to rough it a little and make the best of everything, there is no more delightful way or more profitable (from a mental and physical standpoint) way of spending the summer vacation. The entire training is spent at good, solid soldiering, and shirkers generally have a rough time of it, as may be expected when I state that from the Colonel (Earl Shaftesbury, K.C.V.O.), who served nine years in the 10th Hussars, sown to the youngest subaltern, more than two-thirds of the officers served in the regular army, while the Squadron Sergeant-Majors are specially selected men drafted from the regular army. The following is a correct list of the officers serving in the N.I.H., which, appearing as it does for the first time in any newspaper, should serve as a useful and handy reference:-

Honorary Colonel – Duke of Abercorn, K.G., C.B.
Colonel Commanding – Earl of Shaftesbury, K.V.C.O. (10th Hussars).
Majors (5) – Marquis of Hamilton (1st Life Guards), Hon. E. A. Maude (Scots Greys), Viscount Cole (7th Hussars), Viscount Masserene and Ferrard (17th Lancers), Hon. A. Hamilton-Russell (1st Royal Dragoons).
Captains (4) – Lord Farnham (10th Hussars), C. C. D'Arcy Irvine (3rd Battalion Inniskilling Fusiliers), and A. F. Maude.
Lieutenants (4) – E. C. Herdman (5th Battalion Inniskilling Fusiliers), F. F. Cooke, D. A. W. Ker (6th Dragoon Guards), and C. Norman.
2nd Lieutenants (3) – R. L. Yates, S. J. Lyle, and R. D. Ross (16th Hussars).

THE NEW RIFLE.
In addition to possessing a fine band of their own, which, by the way, made its first public appearance on Thursday evening, the 10th of June, in Ormeau Park, where a particularly flattering reception was accorded it, the new regiment will be armed this year with the new pattern short rifle, Mark 4, the latest and most modern rifle, another high compliment on the part of the Army Council; besides, all the officers, non-coms, signallers, and scouts will be supplied with the best and most modern field glasses, and other equipment likely to prove useful in time of war.

THE CAMP.
It was first arranged that the regiment would encamp at Ballykinlar, alongside the regulars and Royal Irish Rifle Special Reseve Brigade, but that order was subsequently cnacelled and the camp has been pitched at Myrlough, a pretty little spot nestling almost at the foot of Slieve Donard, on the Dundrum side of Dundrum Bay, and quite close to the quiet little town of that name. The immediate locality is more favourable for cavalry drill and manoeuvres, whilst being convenient enough to Ballykinlar for brigade work. The sands, which run rigt down to Newcastle, make an ideal place for squadron drills, and being broader than on the Ballykinlar side of the bay are not so much dependent on the tides.

It will come as a shock to many of the men to learn of the death of Squadron Sergeant-Major Emby (B Squadron), Derry, who was a great favourite in camp, and a splendid all-round sportsman and good fellow generally. The vacancy thus caused has been filled by Sergeant-Major Walsh, of the 8th Hussars. Then, again, Squadron Sergeant-Major Fryer (D Squadron, Dundalk) has been replaced by Sergeant-Major Aston (9th Lancers), and Squad Sergeant-Major Towner, of Enniskillen, of C Squadron (resigned), by Squad Sergeant-Major Wallis, 1st Royal Dragoons. Really the only old friends left in this capacity are Regimental Squadron-Sergeant Pettaway and Squadron Sergeant-Major Blakley (whose photograph appears with this article). All these men have reputations to live up to, and if hard work, enthusiasm, and energy counts for anything the regiment should prove both a credit and an ornament to dear old Ireland, and worthy in every respect the high compliment paid it by the Army Council.

I hope in a future article to deal with camp life.

(Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph, 26 June 1909)

 

Sergeant Major Blakley, the popular officer of A Squadron.

 

NORTH IRISH HORSE.
END OF ANNUAL TRAINING.

After the most successful training since the inauguration of the regiment, seven years ago, the North Irish Horse struck camp on Thursday morning, leaving by three special trains for their respective destinations. The training occupied twenty-four days, during which time the weather, with the exception of a few days, was admirable.

On Wednesday the regiment was inspected by Brigadier Lindley, commander of the Third Cavalry Brigade, who expressed great pleasure with all he saw, and said he observed a substantial improvement in all ranks since he inspected the regiment at the Curragh two years ago. The Colonel returned his thanks to the men for their excellent conduct both in and out of camp.

A concert was held on Wednesday night in the recreation tent, the artists including Lord Shaftesbury, Lord Farnham, and Lieutenant Norman.

The annual sports were held on Wednesday afternoon, in a spacious field adjoining the camp. The weather was all that could be desired, and there was a very large attendance. The events included a number of flat races, section tent-pegging, saddling-up race, horse-jumping, tug-o'-war, wresting on horse back, and several obstacle races.

The musketry competitions were shot off at Ballykinlar on Tuesday. D Squadron (Dundalk) were successful in carrying off all the competitions, winning the Ashley Cup and the Enniskillen Cup. Sergeant Booker was the winner of the competition for the best shot in the regiment, the second being secured by Squadron Quartermaster Jackson. Trooper Greenaway won the competition for best recruit shot in regiment.

Colonel the Earl of Shaftesbury and the officers gave an "At Home" in camp on Wednesday afternoon. The splendid band of the regiment played selections during the sports.

(Ballymena Observer, 16 July 1909)

 

(Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph, 3 July 1909)

 

1910 - Magilligan Camp, Bellarena, County Londonderry

NORTH IRISH HORSE.
Training Begun at Magilligan.

On the 20th inst. the North Irish Horse assembled at Magilligan Camp for the annual training. The regiment, which is practically at full strength, will be under the command of Colonel the Earl of Shaftesbury, and will remain under canvas until Thursday, 7th July. The Belfast (A Squadron) left the city on the 20th inst. on the 9.45 train (Midland), and, accompanied by the regimental band, were the first to arrive at camp, with the exception, of course, of the Derry (B Squadron), who were there to welcome the incoming contingents. The Dundalk (D Squadron) and the Enniskillen (C Squadron) arrived during the day. The Strand will be the venue for the drills for the first week, then road and field work will be commenced. The several competitions promise to be more open and interesting than ever, and with favourable weather a most successful training is anticipated.

(Belfast Weekly News, 23 June 1910)

THE NORTH IRISH HORSE.
Progress of the Training.

The annual training of the North Irish Horse at Magilligan Camp is proceeding apace. The camp, situated near the extremity of the "point", which, jutting out into Lough Swilly to within three miles of the Donegal coast, possesses much interest for tourists, is an ideal place for military operations, and the officers and men of the regiment are very favourably impressed with its scenic beauties and picturesque surroundings. The weather, though rough at times, has so far been fairly favourably, and the various stages of the training have scarcely been interfered with. There has yet been very little respite in the daytime for the strict exactions of duty, but in camp at night various amusements are indulged in and impromptu entertainments organised, the spirit of camaraderie which actuates the members of the various squadrons being very pronounced. The training will be wound up with the usual inspection and regimental sports, for which preparations are already in progress. On the 25th ult. the officers travelled to Londonderry, and engaged in a polo match with the officers of the Hampshire Regiment, stationed at Ebrington Barracks. The game, which was a splendid one, took place on the maginificent grounds of the Derry Polo Club, at Gransha. Hampshire won by four goals to three. A further match was contempleted for the 30th ult. with the County Derry team, but it was postponed. However, the officers travelled to Londonderry and took part in a very interesting practice at Gransha with the home club and the Hampshire officers. The exhibition lasted during the afternoon, and was witnessed by a numerous crowd. The players included the following:- Captain Ricardo, D.S.O.; Captain Connellan, Captain Newman, Major Parker, Captain J. C. Herdman, Captain Holt Waring, Captain Middleton, Mr. Fowelle, Mr. F. F. Cooke, Mr. A. F. Cooke, Mr Grant, Mr. Combe, Mr. E. C. Herdman, Mr. Le Hunt, and Mr. Hewitt.

(Belfast Weekly News, 7 July 1910)

 

1911 - The Curragh, County Kildare

The North Irish Horse will proceed from the squadron headquarters at Belfast (A squadron), Londonderry (B squadron), Enniskilling (C squadron), and Dundalk (D squadron), on the 4th inst. for the usual training to Newbridge. Mr. J. E. Pittaway, regimental sergeant-major, and a fatigue party have already gone to lay out and pitch the camp, which is in the same field as it was during the last visit of the regiment to Newbridge.

(Dublin Daily Express, 2 May 1911)

NORTH IRISH HORSE.- Sergeant David Sterritt, with forty troopers of Squadron B North Irish Horse, left Letterkenny by special train for 24 day's drill at Newbridge, county Kildare. Troop 4 has in command a Donegal man, Captain Charles Norman, of Fahan.

(Derry Journal, 10 May 1911)

NORTH IRISH HORSE.

The members of the North Irish Horse under the command of Colonel the Right Honourable the Earl of Shaftesbury, K.C.V.O., entered upon their annual training on 4th inst. This year the camp has been chosen at Newbridge, where there is plenty of accommodation for the men carrying out their duties. The Belfast contingent left the city at eight o'clock in the morning, travelling per the Great Northern Railway. They were accompanied by the regimental band, under the command of Mr. Richard Wade. It is gratifying to know that during the past year there has been a decided increase in the number of recruits joining the regiment, which will remain in camp until the 27th inst. ...

(Belfast Weekly News, 11 May 1911)

POLO

ALL-IRELAND CLUB.

5TH LANCERS v. NORTH IRISH HORSE.

This match was played on Saturday on the ground of the All-Ireland Club, Phoenix Park, in most beautifully fine weather, and was witnessed by a large gathering of spectators. The ground was in perfect condition, and the game was keenly contested.

The 5th Lancers were strongly represented, as was the team representing the North Irish Horse. ... Teams--
5th Lancers (Green and White) -- Captain Tyrrell, Captain Chance, Major Jardine, Col. Milner.
North Irish Horse (White) -- Mr. J. Grant, Major H. Russell, Captain Waring, Mr. D. Ker.
Umpires -- Captain Dennis and Mr. Roark.

In the opening chukkar the play was even, but a rush by the Royal Irish Lancers' quartette ended in a goal per Major Jardine. The advantage of the leaders was increased by Captain Chance in the second chukkar, but later a goal was recorded for the North Irish Horse. In the third period Captain Holt Waring equalised, and the half-time score was:-
Royal Irish Horse ... 2 goals.
5th Lancers ... 2 goals.

In the fourth chukkar Captain Tyrrell got the leading goal for the 5th Lancers, but immediately afterwards Mr. Grant equalised for the North Irish Horse. In the fifth period the play was a remarkably even character, either side failing to score. In the last period the scorers were Captain Holt Waring for the North Irish Horse and Captain Tyrrell (2) and Major Jardine for the 5th Lancers.
Result:-
5th Lancers ... 6 goals.
N. Irish Horse ... 4 goals.

(Dublin Daily Express, 29 May 1911)

 

1912 - Ballykinlar Camp, Dundrum, County Down

NORTH IRISH HORSE.
THE ANNUAL TRAINING.

The North Irish Horse after twenty-four days' training at Murlough, County Down, were disbanded on Saturday morning. With the exception of one really severe day the weather was delightful for camp life, and, notwithstanding the somewhat arduous course of training, the time was pleasantly spent. The regiment, which is under the command of the Earl of Shaftesbury, consists of about 480 officers and men.

The sports on the afternoon of the 13th were attended with marked success. There were ten events, which were well contested. Sergeant McIlroy, Ballymena, with his charger Nigger won the jumping competition. Nigger also won second prize at Banbridge on Tuesday. Much interest centred in a challenge horse-jumping competition between Lieutenant Herdman and Captain Newman, which was won by the former. Captain Newman's horse fell, and its owner narrowly escaped a severe accident. Sergeant-Major Ross won the Enniskillen Cup for being the best shot amongst the sergeants in the regiment.

Lord Shaftesbury distributed the prizes after the sports, and presented a replica to the winner of the Enniskillen Cup.

Lord Shaftesbury contributed, as also did the regimental band, at a concert held in Newcastle in aid of the local Boy Scouts. It was a brilliant gathering, and the performers included Lady Annesley, Mrs. Armytage-Moore, Mrs. Kidd, Miss Ewing, Miss Slacker, Miss Parr, Lord Farnham, and Mr. Haughton.

(Ballymena Observer, 21 June 1912)

 

1913 - Finner Camp, Bundoran, County Donegal

The North Irish Horse.

On Monday thirty-three men with horses, forming portion of 4th Troop B Squadron, mustered in Letterkenny. In charge of Sergeant A. Hatrick, they were conveyed by special train on Strabane and Letterkenny Railway for twenty-four days' training at Finner Camp, Ballyshannon. The troopers are a fine soldierly lot of young fellows recruited principally from the well-to-do farming class in Letterkenny district, while their mounts would compare favourably with those of crack cavalry regiments. The troop is under command of Lieutenant Charles Norman, D.L., Fahan.

(Ballymena Observer, 20 June 1913)

 

1914 - Ballykinlar Camp, Dundrum, County Down

N.I.H. UNDER CANVAS.

Over four hundred officers and men of the North Irish Horse, including contingents from Belfast, Londonderry, Enniskillen, and Dundalk proceeded yesterday to Newcastle, Co. Down, where they will be engaged in training up till 8th July. For the past week an advance party, under the command of Lieut. Pittaway and Regimental Sergeant-Major Aston, and including S.Q.M.S. Knox and Sergt. McCartney of "A" Squadron, and S.Q.M.S. Chambers of "B" Squadron, had been engaged in the necessary preparations for the main body, for whom everything was in readiness by Sunday. The Belfast contingent entrained in a "special" leaving the Belfast G.N.R. terminus at 12-10, being joined en route by the other detachments. The camp which for the next three weeks will constitute their headquarters is in the delightfully situated and picturesque demesne of the Earl of Annesley.

(Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph, 20 June 1914)

 

(Ballymena Observer, 3 July 1914)

 

THE NORTH IRISH HORSE.

To-morrow the North Irish Horse, Lieutenant Colonel A. E. Maude commanding, will complete its annual training at Donard Lodge camp, Newcastle, and will be dismissed to the respective four squadron headquarters at Belfast, Londonderry, Enniskillen, and Dundalk. It is officially intimated that Captain Holt Waring, J.P., Belfast squadron, has passed in examination IV. for promotion to the rank of major, and Lieutenant R. D. Ross, Belfast squadron, has passed examination III. for promotion to the rank of captain. The regiment has been specially favoured with exceptionally good weather since it went into camp, and there has been practically no sickness in the ranks and very little amongst the horses. The regiment, it is understood, was highly complimented by the inspecting officer, Brigadier-General Allenby, C.B., after his recent inspection. The Belfast squadron held the annual reunion in Newcastle the other evening under the presidency of Squadron Sergeant-Major R. J. Blakely, when a very pleasant time was spent.

(The Belfast News-Letter, 7 July 1914)

NORTH IRISH HORSE.

Sports at Donard Lodge.

The North Irish Horse regimental sports took place at Donard Lodge, Newcastle, on Monday afternoon. Considerable interest was evinced in the programme, not alone by the regiment but by the general public. The weather was delightfully fine, and the grounds were in splendid condition. Lieutenant-Colonel E. A. Maude, commanding officer, took a keen interest in the proceedings, which were carried out by the following:- President, Major Viscount Massereene and Ferrard, D.S.O.; committee - Major Lord Farnham, Captain Holt Waring, Lieutenant D. A. W. Ker, Lieutenant and Quartermaster J. E. Pittaway, Regimental Sergeant-Major T. A. Aston, S.S.M. Atkins, S.S.M. Barns, S.S.M. Moore, R.Q.M.S. Jackson, S.S.M. Knox, and S.S.M. Whiteside. The different events were carried through with expedition, the horsemanship evoking unstinted praise from the large crowd of spectators. The band of the regiment, under the direction of Mr. Wade, bandmaster, rendered a programme of music with much acceptance. The sporting events included individual tent-pegging, a relay race, individual horse jumping, wrestling on horseback, heads and posts, saddling-up race in drill order, half-section race, and a fatigue party race.

A smoking concert in connection with the sergeants' mess took place on Saturday night - Regimental Sergeant-Major Aston presiding.

The regiment, having completed their period of training, will disband to day.

(The Belfast News-Letter, 8 July 1914)

NORTH IRISH HORSE.

Sergeant-Major Blakely presided at the annual dinner of A Squadron on Friday night. Amongst those present were Sergeant-Major Knox, Sergeant Major Moore, and Farrier-Major Mooney. About twenty-five sat down to dinner in the Central Temperance Hotel, Newcastle. An enjoyable musical programme was rendered, the following contributing:- Sergeant-Major Knox, Sergeant-Major Blakely, Sergeant Ashcroft, Trooper Clarke, Corporal Harding, Trooper Kinnear, Trooper Heron, and others.

(Ballymena Observer, 10 July 1914)

ULSTER.

North Irish Horse.--Sergeant W. Lockhart, Jerrettzpass, near Newry, has been declared the winner of the Enniskillen Cup at the recent competition held at Ballykinlar, in connection with the North Irish Horse. He made six bull's eyes out of eight shots.

(Irish Times, 20 July 1914)