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Private John Ford

 

Ford 1

 

John Ford (or Forde) was born on 28 January 1889 at Coolbuck, Lisbellaw, County Fermanagh, son of Mary Anne Ford. A farm labourer, on 12 August 1913 he married Margaret Wilson at Garvary, Enniskillen. Their daughter Kathleen was born the following year.

Ford enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Lisbellaw on 21 December 1912 (No.772).

He embarked for France with C Squadron on 20 August 1914, seeing action on the Retreat from Mons and Advance to the Aisne, before being sent home sick on 7 October that year. On 17 November 1915 he embarked for France once again, this time with F Squadron.

In June 1916 F Squadron joined C Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until August 1917. The following month saw the regiment dismounted and most of its officers and men transferred to the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. Ford, like most of the regiment, joined the battalion on 20 September. He was issued a new number – 41535 – and posted to C Company.

On the night of 3 November 1917 C Company mounted a major raid on the German trenches near Havrincourt on the Cambrai front. Ford was one of a number killed during the raid. The battalion war diary for that day states:

At 4.30 p.m. 'C' Coy left Ruyaulcourt and marched up to the line to carry out a raid. The enemy's front line was successfully penetrated, from the Canal ... to about 150 [yards] E of it. The fighting was very severe as the enemy refused to surrender. Our men stayed in the enemy trenches for twenty min. and bayonetted and shot at least forty Germans. We suffered some casualties, mostly from bombs:- 1 officer severely wounded; 1 officer slightly wounded; 1 N.C.O. killed; 3 O.R. missing, believed killed; 13 O.R. wounded; 1 R.E. (N.C.O.) severely wounded.

Initially listed as missing, his death was later officially accepted. In fact his body had been recovered and laid to rest by the Germans. He is buried in the Cambrai East Military Cemetery, Nord, France, grave VII.B.3. His gravestone inscription reads:

41535 PRIVATE
J. FORD
ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS
3RD NOVEMBER 1917

 

Ford 2

 

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