Private Ernest Adair


Ernest Adair was born on 21 June 1895 at 141 Shankhill Road, Belfast, the fifth of six children of publican (later shipyard labourer, then clerk) William Adair and his wife Helen (née McPherson). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 51 Spring Street, Belfast, with his parents and two of his four surviving siblings, and working as a message boy. The family later moved to 1 Great Patrick Street.

Adair enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 3 and 8 February 1915 (No.1440). On 17 November 1915 he embarked for France with F Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 33rd Division.

In June 1916 F Squadron combined with 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 September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Adair were transferred on 20 September and were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. Adair was issued regimental number 41206.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Adair was wounded in the spring of 1918, probably in the fighting near Kemmel Hill during early to mid-April. He was evacuated to the UK where he was admitted to a hospital in Birmingham.

On 19 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.


Two of Adair's brothers also served in the war. Sergeant Robert Adair of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, was killed at Neuve Chapelle on 25 October 1914. Corporal Graham Adair of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was wounded on 1 July 1916.


Belfast Evening Telegraph, 7 December 1914