Poppy In memoriam Poppy

Private Charles Wesley McClelland




Charles Wesley (or Wellesey) McClelland was born on 31 January 1890 at Oldtown Street, Cookstown, County Tyrone, the seventh of thirteen children of baker Sloan McClelland and his wife Sarah (formerly Burton). By 1911 he was living with his family at 14 William Street, Cookstown, and working with his father as a baker.

McClelland enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Cookstown between 28 January and 16 February 1912 (No.663 – later Corps of Hussars No.71062). He embarked for France with A Squadron on 17 August 1914, seeing action in the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne. He remained with A Squadron through most of the war. In May 1916 it joined with D and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, and in February-March 1918 the regiment was dismounted and converted to a corps cyclist regiment, attached to V Corps.

From 14 to 16 August on the front occupied by V and IV Corps, the Germans pulled back from a six-mile bulge in the line north-west of the Ancre, giving up Serre and Beaumont Hamel. Men of the North Irish Horse joined the pursuit, putting into practice their advance guard training. On 16 August they lost one man on the west bank of the Ancre, Private McClelland.

McClelland was buried near where he fell, south-east of Beaumont-Hamel (map reference 57.d.Q.18.a.2.5), the location marked with a cross. After the war his body was exhumed and re-buried at the Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel, Somme, France, grave VII.E.56. The gravestone inscription reads:

16TH AUGUST 1918


Image of gravestone kindly provided by Richard Evans. See his website Nelson, Glamorgan and the Great War http://www.nelson-ww1-memorial.org.uk.