Sergeant William Christopher Bracken


William Christopher Bracken was born on 19 May 1888 at Drumhack, Florence Court, County Fermanagh, the fourth of five children of farmer Hugh William Bracken and his wife Catherine (nee Brown).

Bracken grew up on the family farm and on 14 March 1908 enlisted in the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry (No.877). On 6 July that year at Newbridge the regiment was disbanded and re-formed as the North Irish Horse. Bracken was one of those who transferred to the new regiment – he was assigned No.179 on the North Irish Horse roll.

He was promoted to lance corporal on 7 April 1911, corporal and lance sergeant on 22 May 1912, and sergeant on 8 April 1913.

Bracken also joined the Enniskillen Horse, an irregular cavalry squadron of the Ulster Volunteer Force, when it was formed in 1912.

He embarked for France on 20 August 1914 as part of C Squadron of the North Irish Horse, seeing action in the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne. On 26 October he was charged with neglect of duty, escaping with a severe reprimand from his commanding officer, Lord Massereene.

In 1916, when Bracken's term of service was due to expire, he elected to leave the regiment. He returned from France and was discharged on 13 March 1916, his military character recorded as 'very good'.

Following his discharged he returned to Drumhack to help his widowed mother and sisters manage the farm.