Sergeant Daniel Agnew


Daniel Agnew was born on 6 September 1877 at Thread Yard, Ligoniel, Belfast, son of Margaret Agnew.

In the 1890s or early 1900s Agnew enlisted in the army, possibly the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, serving until late 1904 or 1905.

On 7 July 1904, while he was a soldier at the Marlborough Barracks in Dublin, he married Minnie Crilly from Middlesborough. The couple had six children over the next fourteen years. After leaving the army Agnew lived in Belfast, and for a short time in Scotland, working first as an insurance agent, then as an iron foundry furnace man. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 25 Ninth Street, Belfast, with his wife and four children. They later moved to 22 Brownlow Street.

Agnew enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 13 and 17 August 1914 (No.1004 – later Corps of Hussars No.71194). Just days later, on 20 August, he embarked for France with C Squadron, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

Later that year or in January 1915 Agnew returned home. The Belfast News-Letter reported that he spoke at a service in Grosvenor Hall on 17 January:

At the afternoon service in the Grosvenor Hall on Sunday the addresses were delivered by two soldiers who have seen service at the Front. Mr. James Dixon presided, and briefly introduced the speakers, stating that men who had engaged in war generally wanted to forget all about it. Trooper Windrim, of the 5th Lancers, in the course of his remarks said he did not intend to give any details concerning the fighting in which he had taken part. He simply wanted to tell the congregation how essential it was for each of them to accept offered mercy. Trooper Agnew, of the North Irish Horse, also speaking on the need for taking Christ as their Saviour, related one or two incidents of the war to emphasise his points. One soldier he knew was a member of the 5th Lancers. Owing to his horse being shot under him he had to fall behind through fatigue in the retreat from Mons. From a hay cart beside a farmhouse he fired at the advancing Germans and killed twenty-six officers and men, including a General. Ultimately he himself was destroyed by the machine guns of the enemy.

Agnew remained with the regiment throughout the war, but given his age it is likely that he remained at the Antrim reserve depot. On 13 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. He was granted a pension due to rheumatism attributed to his service in the war.