Brief history

 

 

Old comrades

The first reunion of the North irish Horse took place at Thompson's Restaurant, Belfast, in February 1924. From them on it became an annual event, the proceedings usually reported in the local press. In 1927 the format was change to a 'smoker' timed to coincide with Remembrance Day commemorations.

Over time I will add copies of these reports for each year, and any pictures that accompanied them.

 

1924

The first annual dinner in connection with the North Irish Horse took place last evening in Thompson's Restaurant, Belfast, when upwards of ninety officers and men were present.

Lieut.-Colonel R.G.O. Bramston-Newman, M.V.O., presided, and was accompanied at the table by Lieut.-Col. Viscount Cole, C.M.G.; Major Sir Emerson herdman, K.B.E.; Major D.A.W. Ker, O.B.E.; Captain J. Grant, Capt. T.W.G.J. Hughes, Captain Warren Murland, Captain R.A.B. Filgate, Captain F.G. Uprichard, Messrs T.F. Cooke, W.B. Smyth, G.B. Brown, W. Hunter, T.A. Barnes, and J. Wherry.

Captain Warren Murland was chairman of the dinner committee, the other members of which were Captain T.W.G.J. Hughes, Messrs. F. Scammell, W. Loughran, R. McLean, J.E. O'Neill, W.V. Ferguson, W. Donaghy, and W.A. Sewell, hon, secretary.

After an admirably-served repast, the toast of "The King" was honoured.

Ex-Regimental-Sergeant-Major F. Scammell proposed the sentiment of "The Glorious and Imperishable Memory of Our Fallen Comrades." The toast was received in silence, and was followed by the graceful rendition of an appropriate solo by Miss D. Sewell.

The Chairman proposed the toast of "The Regiment," and said he did so as the senior member of the North Irish Horse present [though he thought that Lord Cole, who took the regiment out to France, could have fittingly been assigned the task. Lord Cole had resigned the regiment shortly after the war, and consequently the duty of proposing the toast had fallen to his lot.]. He had to announce apologoes for inability to attend from Earl Shaftesbury, Major Crabbe, Major Finlay, and Major Ross, Mr. O'Neill, Mr. Coey, Lord Farnham, and Lord Roden.

Continuing, he said those dinners were an excellent means of bringing them together, and they hoped to continue them in future years. (Hear, hear.) The goodly company present showed him that the spirit of the regiment was still alive, and their love of the old Irish Horse was still there. (Hear, hear.) It had not been an easy matter to start the regiment. It was difficult to get people to understand what they were going to be asked to do, and they little knew how much they owed to their Colonel-in-Chief, the Earl of Shaftesbury. It was entirely due to his energy that the regiment was originally started. Though he had left them in 1910 or 1911 it was owing to him that they had been made an active machine to go out to France in 1914. His successor, Colonel Maude, had reaped the advantages of what Lord Shaftesbury had laid down, and had the luck to command the regiment during the greatest war the world had ever known. There was one name which he wished to recall with all feelings of respect, and that was the name of the late Mr. Pittaway, who was for many years quarter-master of the Regiment [who had helped him wonderfully, and he was extremely sorry at his untimely death].

Proceeding, the Chairman briefly traced the history of the regiment in peace and war. When the war broke out two squadrons were immediately sent to France. One was commanded by Lord Cole, and the other by Lord Massereene, and both took part in the retreat from Mons, an honour which very few yeomanry regiments had. Subsequent to the despatch of those squadrons a depot was formed at Antrim, and at that depot everything was done that was expected of them. They got things going there in an amazingly short space of time, and in the spring of the following year another squadron was sent to France, under the command of Major Hamilton Russell. Altogether five full squadrons were sent to France, and the three squadrons which remained at home were able to keep all the service squadrons up to strength throughout the entire period of the war. (Hear, hear.) There was no part of the British line where Irish Horse men were not to be found, and he never heard a disparaging word spoken against the regiment during the whole war. Anything they got to do – and they were given some very unpleasant jobs – was done well. It was rather unfortunate that the war was not a war of movement. Cavalry did not get much chance of operating as such, but when any nasty job had to be performed, those in control always sent for the North Irish Horse. (Applause.) The excellent work they did was fully recognised, and there was no battle honour for France that the Irish Horse were not entitled to share in. The battle honours they had selected for the regiment were:– Mons, Le Cateau, Marne (1914), Aisne (1914) Albert (1916-18), Ypres (1917), Bapaume (first and second), Havrincourt, Canal du Nord, and Selle.

That was a list of which any regiment might be proud. Later in the war when the regiment was dismounted the officers and men were drafted to other units and all rendered good accounts of themselves. A great many of their N.C.O.'s and men were given commissions, and that he thought was a great complement to the North of Ireland men. Over 2,100 men enlisted in the regiment during the war, and 1,981 men and 86 officers proceeded overseas with various squadrons. One hundred and twenty-five N.C.O.'s and men were given commissions, and amongst the honours gained by members of the regiment were one Victoria Cross, one C.M.G., and three D.S.O.'s. (Applause.) Arrangements were being made to erect a war memorial to the members of the regiment who fell in the war. What form it would take had not yet been decided upon, but a sum of £500 had been allocated from certain funds for the purpose, and a committee had the matter in hands. (Applause.)

Lieut.-Colonel Viscount Cole responded. The North Irish Horse was formed of the best material for purposes of war that any officer ever commanded. Officers and men were of the very highest class, and the reason why they accomplished so much was that every man tackled the job which he had to do. Besides being good workers the men were cheery and not given to grumbling. [Concluding, he proposed the health of the Committee.]

The toast was cordially honoured, and was responded to by Mr. W.A. Sewell [who said that to the members of the Committee the work had been a labour of love].

On the motion of Mr. W. Harcourt, seconded my Mr. J.E. Stafford, it was agreed to continue the dinner as an annual fixture.

A tribute was paid to the bravery of the late Major Holt Waring in the War, and the toast of his memory was drunk in silence on the proposition of Mr. Jack Mitchell.

The health of the officers of the regiment was also drunk with great enthusiasm. Captain John Grant responded.

In the course of the evening an enjoyable programme was contributed by Miss D.A. Sewell, Messrs. J. Donnelly, D . Morrow, D. Bell, and L.L. Click. The accompanist was Mr. D. Leinster.

(Belfast News-Letter, 23 February 1924, with additional text in square brackets from the Northern Whig and Belfast Post, 28 February 1924. Photograph from Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph, 8 March 1924.)

 

1925

The second annual dinner in connection with the Old Comrades of the North Irish Horse took place last night in Thompson's Restaurant, [Donegall Place] Belfast, where there was a representative gathering of [some sixty of the] survivors of the regiment, which had the unique distinction in the Great War of being mobilised on the outbreak of hostilities and serving continuously until the Armistice. The battle honours of the regiment are the Retreat from Mons, the Marne, the Aisne, and Armentieres, when it won imperishable fame. The proceedings last night were of a very happy nature, and suggestions were made for fostering the spirit of comradeship between members of the old corps. In the unavoidable absence of Brigadier-General the Earl of Shaftesbury, K.P., G.C.V.O., C.B.E., the chair was occupied by Lieut.-Colonel the Viscount Massereene and Ferrard, D.S.O., and accompanying him at the top table were:– Lieut.-Colonel R.S.O. Bramston Newman, M.V.O.; Major Sir Emerson Herdman, K.B.E.; Major D.A.W. Ker, Captain J. Grant, Mr. T.F. Cooke, Mr. W.B. Smyth, Mr. G.B. Brown, Mr. J.B. Young, M.C., and Mr. W. Wherry. The arrangements in connection with the reunion were excellently carried out by Mr. W.A. Sewell, who, with the assistance of a capable committee, welcomed old comrades, and very speedily there was created an atmosphere in which North Irish Horsemen recalled experiences in trench, in billets, and on the march. Apologies for inability to attend were received from the Earl of Shaftesbury, the Earl of Enniskillen, C.M.G.; the Earl of Roden, Lord Farnham, D.S.O.; Colonel E.A. Maude, Major J.A. Finaly, Captain T.W. Hughes, Captain Warren Murland, and Mr. A.E. Archdale. The members of the Dinner Committee were Capt. Warren Murland (chairman), Capt. T.W.G.J. Hughes, Mr. F. Scammell, Mr. W. Loughran, Mr. J.S. Mitchell, Mr. H.E. Craig, Mr. W.L. Harcourt, M.C.; Mr. W. Donaghy, and Mr. K. Moyse, with Mr. W.A. Sewell as hon. secretary.

Mr. J.S. Mitchell, in proposing the toast of "Fallen Comrades," [after the toast of the "King" had been honoured,] said it was but fitting that he should refer to the ceremony they had seen that day in the City Hall. It was a most beautiful ceremony, and he might say that they were not like other regiments, for the memorial was entirely put up by the men of the regiment themselves and not by voluntary subscription from the public. On the other hand, the ceremony was an expression of appreciation from the outside public of what the men of the North Irish Horse had done; and the fact that the memorial had been placed in the City Hall was an outward and visible sign to the relatives of the fallen that their dear ones had got a place in the niche of fame that they had done their duty and were worthy of remembrance. They, the surviving members of the regiment, honoured the toast of the men who fell, and, although in the usual memorial ceremonies they spoke of a sad memory, they said it was a glorious memory. (Hear, hear.) To those who died had been given the greatest honour, for they had died for country, King, and freedom. After all, life was short, and all had to die, but the deaths of their old comrades were inscribed on the scroll of fame and in the life of the nation. While they must be sad for the relatives of the fallen and sad for their departed comrades, let them think that those men had gone to a higher sphere and bigger victories in the fight. During its war experiences the North Irish Horse had lost 27 officers and 123 men, but there were other men who had been transferred to other corps, many of whom had also probably paid the supreme sacrifice. No words of his could fittingly express the glorious toast of the fallen – the men who had fought and died for them. In the words of Stevenson –
"Gladly did I live and gladly I died,
And I laid down my life with a will."

The toast was honoured in impressive and solemn silence, after which the roll of the fallen was read over by Mr. Sewell.

Lord Massereene, proposing the toast of "The Regiment," apologised for the unavoidable absence of the Earl of Shaftesbury who was to preside at the dinner. He did not propose to refer to the war which was now years past. He explained to them the workings of the various committees connected whith the regiment. The Association Fund assisted members who had fallen on bad times and were in need of temporary support. A battle honours committee had collected information and sent it through the War Office to claim the battle honours to which they were entitled. It has been a long task, but a fact of which the North Irish Horse should be proud was that outside the regular army they were the only regiment, he thought, with four battle honours of 1914. (Hear, hear.) The North Irish Horse was still shown on the Army List, but when he asked Lord Derby, a short time ago, as to whether it was likely that the regiment would be restarted, he was led to believe that there was no hope. Some of the happiest moments of his life, continued Lord Massereene, were spent in the North Irish Horse. He never regretted the day he joined them, and he never would. He never had a better lot of men than in the squadron he commanded. If in the future occasion arose, when the North Irish Horse would be wanted again, they would do their duty as they had done in those years of the Great War, and would add fresh laurels to their fame. (Applause.)

[After the drinking of the toast] Lieut.-Colonel R.S.O. Bramston-Newman, M.V.O., responded. In a reference to the ceremony on the City Hall that afternoon, he said that he thought how pleased all those who were once with them would have been. The window was a most beautiful tribute to their memorial. They were deeply indebted to the committee who chose the window and took the trouble of getting it put up. (Hear, hear.) It would be a lasting remembrance even if the Northern Government did not reconstitute the regiment, which was started in 1903, and had the luck to come into the greatest war the world had ever seen. First impressions were the most lasting, and he thought the first impressions of most of those present were at Antrim, where they were taught what would be required of them when they would go to France and elsewhere. Those impressions would not have been possible if Lord Massereene had not granted them the use of Antrim Castle and the deerpark. They were under a deep debt of gratitude to him. (Applause.) He hoped that they would continue to hold that dinner till all were too old to come to it. He suggested that they should form an Old Comrades Club. (Applause.)

A vote of thanks to the Lord Mayor and citizens for the privilege they had bestowed on the regiment in allowing the memorial to be placed in the City Hall was cordially passed, on the proposal of Sergeant J.B. Harvey (Antrim Depot) and Corpl. Arthur Mitchell.

Mr. H.E. Craig said, as a representative of the rank and file, it gave him much pleasure to submit the toast of "Our Officers." No regiment which served during the war could boast of finer officers than the North Irish Horse. (Applause.) When they all left civilian life to join a citizen army many of them thought at the time that some of the officers' orders were superfluous; but they now realised that they were essential for the making of a soldier. (Applause.) There had always been the most cordial relations between all ranks.

The toast was drunk with musical honours.

Lord Massereene, in replying, paid a tribute to the regiment and said the officers could never find a better set of men to instruct and lead. The discipline of a regiment was founded on respect – the respect of the men for the officers, and the officers for the men. (Hear, hear.) During the war the relations between officers and men were of the best, and he was perfectly certain that, as in the past, so in the future, if necessary, wherever the North Irish Horse officers led the men would always follow. (Applause.)

The health of Mr. Sewell, hon. secretary, was enthusiastically honoured, on the motion of Mr. W. L. Harcourt, M.C., and he briefly replied.

An enjoyable musical programme was supplied by Mr. J. Donnelly, jun., and Mr. J.A. Laird, the accompaniments being skilfully played by Mr. E.S. Mills.

Sir Emerson Herdman proposed a vote of thanks to the artistes, and this was passed by acclamation. The singing of "Auld Lang Syne" brought the proceedings to a close.

(Belfast News-Letter, 1 May 1925, with additions in square brackets from The Northern Whig and Belfast Post, 1 May 1925)

 

1926

"There is no one present who does not consider it a great honour to belong to the North Irish Horse or in former years the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry. To our minds there was only one regiment in the British Army, and that regiment was our own," said Captain R.J. Buchanan at the Old Comrades dinner in connection with the N.I.H. on Friday evening in Thompson's Restaurant [Donegall Place, Belfast, where there was a large attendance].

Lieutenant-Colonel R.G. Bramston Newman, M.V.O., presided, being supported by the following officers of the regiment:– Major Sir Emerson Herdman, K.B.E.; Major D.A.W. Ker, O.B.E.; Captains Warren Murland (chairman of committee), J. Grant, T.W.G. Hughes, F.G. Uprichard, R.A.B. Filgate, Lieutenants J. Wherry, G.B. Brown and J.B. Young. Reminiscences of the gallant part which the North Irish Horse played in the early stage of the war were given by the senior officers and the function was an unqualified success from every point of view.

The loyal toast having been duly honoured,

"Our Fallen Heroes" was given in impressive style by Mr. William Loughran. It is good, said the speaker, in the joy of reunion amid the exchange of memories of other times and places, that we can turn for a moment and in silence think of those men who were known to us, and with us faced things "in the raw." They were men who promptly answered the "boot and saddle," but who failed to answer the roll call when the cost was counted. It pleased the High God to take them in the height of their youthful glory. This is neither the time of the place to ask why? All that was left to us who were spared to come home is to keep their memory ever green. Maeterlink has said "Men are only dead when they are forgotten."

The toast was then drunk in silence.

In proposing the toast of "The Regiment," the chairman said it would be a pity if that annual dinner were discontinued, because there were not very many of the regiment now left in the Army List. He hoped that at future gatherings they would have a larger attendance of members of the regiment from both sides of the Border, so that the good feeling which had always existed between all of the squadrons in days gone by would be continued. (Applause.)

He regretted that Lord Massereene, who was to have presided that evening, was unable to be present. Colonel Maude, who had commanded the regiment for a great many years had been gazetted out. He was responsible for the training of the men sent out to France, and they owed the great efficiency of the regiment in a great degree to him. He (Colonel Newman) had also been gazetted out during the year. On Armisitce Day they placed a wreath on the Belfast Cenotaph, which was subsequently transferred to their own war memorial in the City Hall. (Hear, hear.) Proceeding, the chairman regretted to say that the death had occurred of Lieutenant T.F. Cooke, [who died suddenly quite recently, and Captain Finlay. They were jolly good fellows, and the best horsemen one could meet. They also deplored the death of Mr. Smith, of Antrim, who was in Lord Farnham's squadron.] (Hear, hear.)

[In conclusion, the Chairman congratulated Captain Warren Murland, Mr. Sewell, and the Committee for carrying out the arrangements for that dinner.]

[Captain R.J. Buchanan, proposing the toast of the "Officers of the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry and the North Irish Horse, Past and Present," said that during the space of over twenty years they had opportunities to recall incidents of a pleasant character. They were obsessed with one idea, and that was that they belonged to the finest regiment in the British army. (Hear, hear.) The camps at Dundalk, Finner, and Ballykinlar had been most enjoyable, and the officers of the regiment had reason to think that their labours] had not been in vain, because it could justly be said that during the great struggle the North Irish Horse gave a good account of themselves. He wished all the officers of the regiment long life, prosperity, and good health. (Applause.)

The toast was cordially honoured.

[Major] Sir Emerson Herdman and Major Ker replied, the former stating that although they were no longer officially connected with the regiment it would always be very dear to them.

[During the evening Mr. Jack Donnelly, who has no peers locally as a tenor, sang a number of solos in a most accomplished manner. His numbers included "Because," "Believe me if all those endearing young charms," and "The Minstrel Boy." The topical item by Mr. Fred McKee caused great amusement, and Mr. A Clenaghan's items were thoroughly enjoyed.]

The dinner committee consisted of Capt. Warren Murland (chairman), Captain Hughes, Lieutenant G.B. Brown, Mr. F. Scammell, Head-Constable A. Colhoun, Messrs. W. Loughran, J.S. Mitchell, F.E. Craig, W.L. Harcourt, M.C.; W. Donaghy, K. Moyse, and W.A. Sewell (hon. sec.).

(Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph, 27 February 1926. Additional material in square brackets from The Northern Whig and Belfast Post, 20 February 1926)

 

1927

Old times were pleasantly reaclled at the annual reunion of the old comrades of the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry and North Irish Horse held yesterday evening at Thompson's Restaurant, Belfast.

Lieut.-Col. the Earl of Enniskillen, C.M.G., presided, and among those present were:– Lieut.-Col. R.G.O. Bramston-Newman, M.V.O.; Major Sir Emerson Herdman, K.B.E.; Captain J. Grant, Captain T.W.G.J. Hughes, Captain Warren Murland, and Lieut. W.B. Smyth.

Major Sir Emerson Herdman, in proposing the toast of "Fallen Comrades of the North Irish Horse," said that no words of his were required to add lustre to their name.

The toast was honoured with due respect.

The Earl of Enniskillen, who proposed the toast, "The Regiment," said that was the first occasion on which the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry had been associated with the North Irish Horse at the annual dinner. He was, therefore, really including two regiments in the toast. He would like as many as possible of the men of the regiment throughout the province to attend the dinner, and they would consider the matter to see if that could be arranged.

Lord Enniskillen recalled the latter period of the war, when their regiments were asked to provide three men every week for training as officers. It seemed a "tall order," but they had no difficulty in finding men of the right type, and he had been told at headquarters that their men were far ahead of those sent from other units. (Applause.) Those officers were posted to every branch of the service, and they even sent an officer to the navy. (Laughter.)

Lieutenant-Colonel R.G.O. Bramston-Newman, responding, said it had never struck him before that the Imperial Yeomanry ever considered themselves in any way dissociated from the North Irish Horse, because they only changed the name from the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry to the North Irish Horse, because the latter was shorter and saved a lot of trouble in the office. (Laughter.) When the regiment started they only had two squadrons – and these were not up to strength – and it had been rather wonderful that during the war they produced from that nucleus five squadrons in France, to say nothing of a very large depot at Antrim. (Applause.) There was one among them who could give them points in everything, especially in youthful looks. He referred to Sergeant-Farrier Mooney, who was in the Zulu war in 1879. (Applause.)

Mr. J.S. Mitchell, who propised the toast of "The Officers of the Regiment," said the two squadrons which went to France just after the outbreak of war joined in the most efficient army in the world. They were the first irregular cavalry regiment the reach France, and the only one that had the honour of taking part in the retreat from Mons, perhaps the greatest military event in the history of the war.

The Earl of Enniskillen, returning thanks on behalf of the officers present and absent, particularly referred to Lord Shaftesbury, who, he said, started the regiment in the face of the greatest difficulties. To Lord Shaftesbury's great regret, his time was up before the war began.

Mr. T. West (of Derry) spoke on behalf of old comrades in the Maiden City.

Songs were sung by Messrs. J. Donnelly, J.S. Mitchell, A.H. Clenaghan, and J. Holmes, and the accompaniments were played by Mr. D. Nummie. The artists were thanked on the motion of Captain J. Grant.

The Committee responsible for arranging the dinner consisted of Captain Warren Murland (chairman), Captain T.W.G.J. Hughes, Lieutenant G.B. Brown, Captain R.J. Buchanan, Mr. F. Scammell, Mr. J.A. Barlowe, B.A.; Mr. W. Loughran, Mr. H.E. Craig, Mr. W.L. Harcourt, M.C.; Mr. W. Donaghy, Mr. K. Moyse, Mr. J.S. Mitchell, and Mr. W.A. Sewell (hon. secretary).

(Northern Whig and Belfast Post, 26 February 1927)

 

All squadrons were represented, and many South African veterans were present, at the annual "smoker" of the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry and the North Irish Horse Old Comrades' Association, held at Ye Olde Castle, Belfast, last night.

Lieut.-Colonel Viscount Massereene and Ferrard, D.S.O., presided, and the other officers present were:– Lieut.-Colonel Lord Farnham, D.S.O.; Lieut.-Colonel Bramston-Newman, M.V.O.; Major D.A.W. Ker, Captain John Grant, Captain T.W. Hughes, Captain W. Murland, Captain F.G. Uprichard, Lieut. G.B. Brown, and Lieut. A. Coey. The Inniskilling Fusiliers, now stationed in Belfast, were represented by Captain Allen, Lieut. Herd (adjutant), Sergeant-Major McLean, and Company Quartermaster-Sergeant McCone.

His Grace the Governor, who was expected to attend, wrote apologising for his absence owing to business in London.

Expressing pleasure that the N.I.I.Y. and the N.I.H. had come together at last, Lieut.-Colonel Bramston-Newman said that since its inception 24 years ago the N.I.H. had produced many squadrons, both before and during the great war.

"Fallen Comrades" were toasted by Lord Farnham, and the toast was drank in silence.

Those who entertained the company were Lord Farnham, Messrs. J.B. Harvey, A.H. Clenaghan, W.K. Cooke, Tom Reynolds, T. Graham, and Cecil McClelland (pianist).

(Northern Whig and Belfast Post, 11 November 1927)

 

1928

As a former officer of the old North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry, which later became the North Irish Horse, his Grace the Duke of Abercorn, Governor of Northern Ireland, was given an enthusiastic welcome when he arrived at the annual smoking concert of the old comrades of the regiment last evening.

The gathering took place in the Shaftesbury Restaurant, Belfast, and old comrades in arms spent a pleasant evening exchanging stories of the days when a good horse and a good fellow were always welcomed in the regiment.

The chair was occupied by Lieut.-Colonel the Viscount Massereene and Ferrard, D.S.O.; and amongst those present were:– Lieut.-Colonel R. Smythe, C.M.G., D.S.O.; Lieut.-Colonel Groves-Raines, Lieut.-Colonel R. Magill, Major Riley, Major the Right Hon. Hugh O'Neill, D.S.O. (Speaker of the Northern House of Commons), Major Sir Emerson Herdman, Major D. Ker, Capt. F. Uprichard, Capt. Hughes, Capt. W. Murland, Capt. Martelli (A.D.C. to his Grace the Governor), Capt. John Grant, and Lieutenants G.B. Brown and W. B. Smythe.

Before leaving, his Grace spoke of the great pleasure it gave him to be amongst members of the old regiment again, and wished them all the best of luck in the future.

His Grace's good wishes evoked hearty cheers, and he was accorded a "good night" with musical honours.

The Chairman said he was gratified to see such a large attendance of old comrades present. A gathering of such a kind was one in which they ought to take much pride, particularly when they had his Grace the Governor of Northern Ireland amongst them and also the Speaker of the Northern Ireland House of Commons. (Applause.) He went on to refer to the death since the last meeting of Farrier Q.M.S. Mooney, a respected member of the old regiment. His Lordship concluded with a reference to the good work which the association was doing to assist members.

The toast of "Our Fallen Comrades," proposed by Mr. J.A. Barlowe, was honoured in the traditional manner. Mr. Barlowe said that the regiment formerly known as the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry well represented the Imperial race at the front. When the King's message went forth to the Army well and worthily did the regiment behave itself.

Major the Hon. Hugh O'Neill, M.P., proposing the sentiment of "Our Guests," said he had joined the regiment in 1902, when Lord Shaftesbury was in command and his Grace the Governor was second-in-command. The trainings at Finner Camp and Dundalk were very pleasant recollections, and it was nice to see so many of the old comrades gathering together again. It was specially gratifying to have Lieut-Colonel Smythe from the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers with them. Nothing had given the people of Northern Ireland more pleasure than to have one of their finest regiments at last posted in Ulster.

Lieut.-Colonel Groves-Raines, replying, said that the presence of such a fine gathering made him think it a great pity that in Ulster there were no voluntary regiments or Yeomanry, such as existed in England. Referring to the mechanisation of cavalry he said that even if the North Irish Horse were turned into a tank unit they would still give a splendid account of themselves.

During the evening the following artistes contributed to the enjoyment of those present:– Mr. Gerland Morrison (manager of the Empire Theatre), Mr. A.H. Clenaghan, Mr. Derek Martin, Mr. harry Lawrenson, Mr. Tom Reynolds, Mr. Donald Reid and Mr. Ally Benson. Mr. S. Howard Whyte acted as accompanist.

The committee in charge of the arrangements was composed of Messrs. F. Scammell, J.A. Barlowe, E. Berwitz, N.J. Fulton, H.E. Craig, W.L. Harcourt, M.C., W. Donaghy, E. Deane. Mr. W.A. Sewell was an efficient honorary secretary.

(Belfast News-Letter, 10 November 1928)

Belfast Weekly Times, 17 November 1928

 

1929

A telegram to the V.C. heroes dining with the Prince of Wales at Westminster was sent from the annual "smoker" of the North Irish Horse Comrades' Association on Saturday night. The telegram, which was signed by Lieut.-Colonel Lord Farnham – who occupied the chair – read as follows: "Victoria Cross winners, Westminster, London – North Irish Horse Comrades' Association at Belfast smoker drink your health and happiness."

Lord Farnham proposed the health of the V.C. heroes, and the toast was honoured with enthusiasm.

The concert was held in the Locksley Hall, Belfast, and a large attendance of ex-members of the regiment thoroughly enjoyed an excellent musical programme.

Lord Franham, proposing the toast of "The Regiment" read a telegram from Viscount Massereene, in which he said: Warmest greetings to you and all our comrades, and best wishes for a very pleasant evening." Lord Farnham said Viscount Massereene had the best interests of the old comrades of the regiment at heart. Proceeding, he gave details of what had been done by the North Irish Horse Fund. Since it had been inaugurated 107 ex-members and their dependents had been assisted, this involving an expenditure of £491. During the past year 15 men were assisted. This work, his Lordship said was very satisfactory, and it was a great gratification to them all to know that some old comrades who needed assistance had been able to get it.

His Lordship announced that, after the North Irish Horse wreath had been placed at the Cenotaph on Monday, it would be transferred from there to the regimental memorial window inside the City Hall. This ceremony would take place at noon, and all ex-members of the regiment were cordially invited to be present. He hoped there would be a large attendance.

Proceeding, Lord Farnham said he was uttering no platitude when he told his old comrades what a pleasure it was to preside at their re-union. They had had many wonderful pleasant times together, and he was glad to see so many with whom he had been associated in many different places. "We have been together in trainings in peace and trainings in war," said his Lordship, "and some of the happiest times of my life have been spent with you, my old comrades." (Applause.) Not only had they passed through happy times they had also had strenuous days and occasions of great responsibility, but their difficulties cemented their friendship and comradeship.

He remembered days of training when there were all sorts of friendly rivalries between the squadrons, but above all squadrons was the regiment. It was as a regiment they went out to France, and the name of the North Irish Horse would be honoured for what they did there. (Applause.)

Colonel the Right Hon. R.D. Perceval-Maxwell, D.S.O., who was an officer of the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry, responded, and in a humorous speech recalled some amusing episodes of training. the regiment increased in efficiency as years went on, and it was a tremendous pleasure to him to see so many of its former members. He hoped that they would continue to meet together in that way so long as there were even two of them left.

Mr. J.A. Barlowe, in an appropriate speech, proposed "Fallen Comrades." The North Irish Horse was one of the first regiments to be called up on the outbreak of war, he said, and it had the honour of furnishing the escort to the Commander-in-Chief.

Sir Emerson herdman proposed "Our Guests," and Major Rodwell, Colonel W.E. Rothwell, D.S., and Lieutenant R.A. Heard, M.C. (Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers), and Lieutenant R.J.R. Campbell and Lieutenant R.B. Allman (Royal Ulster Rifles) responded.

(Belfast News-Letter, 11 November 1929)

 

1930

As announced yesterday the remains of the Hon. Diana Skeffington, only daughter of Viscount Massereene, will be interred on Monday at 3 p.m. in Antrim Castle grounds after service at the Parish Church.

... The smoking concert to be held for former troopers of the North Irish Horse on Monday next has been abandoned.

(Northern Whig, 8 November 1930)

 

1934

Old comrades of the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry and the North Irish Horse, who held their annual re-union in the Locksley Hall, Belfast, on Saturday evening, were delighted when Viscount Craigavon paid them a visit and remained for a short time, enjoying the happy atmosphere of good comradeship which was the predominant characteristic of the proceedings.

Lord Craigavon served as an officer in the old North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry during the South African war and several members of that corps who were present at Saturday evening's function testified to his fine leadership and his constant thought for the welfare of the men under him.

There was a very large gathering and the re-union was perhaps the most successful that has yet been held. Major Sir Emerson Herdman presided, and amongst the former officers of the corps present were Lieut.-Colonel Lord Farnham, D.S.O., who came all the way from County Cavan to attend the function; Lieut.-Colonel Bramston-Newman, Major D. Ker, Major Hughes, Captain Warren Murland, Captain F. Uprichard, Mr. Copeland and Mr. Smith.

Lord Craigavon on his arrival was accorded an enthusiastic welcome, and in a brief speech in reply to the toast of his health, proposed by the Chairman, he expressed his pleasure at being once again amongst many old friends and comrades. They were all delighted to see their friend Lord Farnham, from the other side of the border, present that evening. He wished the Old Comrades' Association every success. Whenever he had the opportunity he would always be delighted to come amongst them.

Another former member of the Imperial Yeomanry present was Major Leo Moore, who also was toasted. In reply he paid a high tribute to the men of Northern Ireland. "All I can tell you is this," he said, "that the Northern Ireland man can adapt himself to any position he is put into, and that is the first requisite of a good soldier."

Mr. J.A. Barlowe, B.A., in an eloquent speech paid fitting tribute to the memory of fallen comrades, and told of how the people of Ulster watched with close interest and increasing admiration the work which the various squadrons of the North Irish Horse did at the front during the Great War. The regiment had, he said, worthily upheld the best traditions of Ulster and had acquitted itself nobly.

The toast of the Regiment was proposed by Sir Emerson Herdman in a speech full of humour. This sentiment having been honoured with great cordiality, the remainder of the evening was devoted to an excellent programme of songs, monologues, humorous items, &c., and the exchange of reminiscences which is, perhaps, the most enjoyable aspect of all social gatherings of ex-Service men.

The arrangements, which were admirable, were made by a committee, of which Captain Warren Murland was chairman, and Mr. W.A. Sewell (a former Regimental Sergeant-Major) was secretary. Mr. H.E. Craig and Mr. W. Harcourt were responsible for the musical programme, which was contributed to by the following:– Lord Farnham, Messrs.Andrew Gabbey, James Pim, Mervyn Stanley Thomas McLatchie, Crawford Irvine, A.H. Clenaghan, Frazer Doherty, W.E. Trimble, Private Burgess, Trooper Jones, of D Squadron; and others. Mr. Bertie Durand was at the piano.

(Belfast News-Letter, 12 November 1934)