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Private Matthew Hagan

 

Haggan

 

 

Matthew Hagan was born on 13 May 1893 at Coagh, Cookstown, County Tyrone, the eighth of ten children of carpenter William James Hagan and his wife Matilda (nee Sands). He was educated at Tamlaght National School. By 1911 he was living at 21 Great George's Street, Coagh, with his parents and three siblings, and working as a fowl dealer.

Hagan enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim between 8 and 19 April 1915 (No.1480 – later Corps of Hussars No.71398). He embarked for France on 23 September that year, joining either A, C or D Squadron in the field.

In 1916 he fell ill with pleurisy and was evacuated to the UK, spending time in Belfast's Hilden Hospital. After his recovery and some home leave, Hagan returned to the North Irish Horse Reserve depot at Antrim. A report in the Mid Ulster Mail of 23 December 1916 stated:

Trooper Matthew Hagan, of the North Irish Horse, has been home on furlough with his parents, who reside at Aughavey, Coagh. Although over 15 months in the shell-swept area, he is in good health and spirits. On Monday evening a large number of his friends and old chums met at his brother's residence to bid him good-bye, prior to his departure. After a sumptuous supper songs and dancing were indulged in until a late hour.

In January 1918 Hagan embarked for Egypt with a draft of North Irish Horsemen from the Antrim camp. There he was posted to the 1/1st Staffordshire Yeomanry (Queen's Own Royal Regiment). He served with the regiment in the Palestine campaign.

During 1918 Private Hagan contracted malaria. He died in the 32nd Hospital in Beirut on 17 October and was buried in the Beirut German Protestant Cemetery. After the war his body was exhumed and re-buried in the Beirut War Cemetery, Lebanon, grave 31. His gravestone inscription reads:

H/71398 PRIVATE
M. HAGGAN
Q.O.R.R. STAFFORDSHIRE YEO.
17TH OCTOBER 1918

 

Note: Some army records incorrectly spell his name as 'Haggan'.

 

Coagh memorial

 

Image of Private Hagan, the Coagh Memorial and some of the above information sourced from Friends of the Somme, Mid Ulster Branch. Gravestone image kindly provided by Steve Rogers, Project Co-ordinator of the The War Graves Photographic Project, www.twgpp.org.