Private George Christopher Berrill


George Christopher Berrill was born on 27 December 1889 at Carnagat, Newry, County Armagh, the second of two children of railway porter James Berrill and his wife Mary (née Levins). By the timeof the 1911 Census he was living in Ballycolman Avenue, Strabane, County Tyrone, as a boarder at the home of coachman John Doherty, and working as a coach painter. The following year, on 12 June, he married Ellen Jane Kelly in the Strabane Roman Catholic Church. The couple's child Mary Ellen was born a year later.

Berrill enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 4 and 14 January 1916 (No.2067). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Berrill, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. Berrill was issued regimental number 41231 and posted to D Company.

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

Berrill was one of the many posted as missing following the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive. It was later learned that he had been captured on 22 March near St Quentin, when much of D Company became isolated by the fast-moving German advance. He remained a prisoner until the end of the war, held at the camp in Limburg.

Following his repatriation, on 12 April 1919 Berrill was discharged, being 'no longer physically fit for war service' (paragraph 392 (xvi), King's Regulations) due to a neck injury sustained in the course of his military service. He was granted a pension due to the injury.