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 (nee 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.

McClelland remained with A Squadron through most of the war. On 2 october 1915 he was mentioned in a report in the Mid-Ulster Mail:

Trooper W. Cunningham, North Irish Horse, whose home is in Drapersfield, arrived home on the 16th for a short leave, and left again on the 20th. he went out to France with the first contingent, and saw a good deal of fighting in the earlier stages of the war. During recent months' he has been on Sir John French's bodyguard. He was looking very fit and in good heart, after over a year on active service. His immediate chums in France are Troopers Wesley McClelland, Hiram Irwin, John Marks, Joseph MacKenzie, Wm. Anderson, and A. J. McKenna, and these were all well when he left.

In May 1916 A Squadron 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.