2nd Lieutenant William Alexander McKemie Buchanan



William Buchanan was born on 8 April 1891 at Burt, Londonderry, Co. Donegal, the second of eight children of farmer William Buchanan of Inch Level Farm and his wife Annie (nee Scott). He was educated at the Model School and Foyle College, Londonderry.

A farmer and government contractor, Buchanan enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 7 October 1914 at Londonderry (No.1286). He was appointed lance corporal on 1 June 1915 and promoted to corporal on 5 February 1916.

Buchanan arrived in France on 22 March 1916, joining F Squadron in the field. At the end of the year he aggravated an old injury to the right elbow and he was evacuated to the UK, spending from December 1916 to March 1917 at the General Hospital, Leicester.

He returned to his regiment, the 2nd North Irish Horse, in the field in June 1917. In September the regiment was dismounted and absorbed into the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. Buchanan applied for a commission and was posted to No.7 Officer Cadet Battalion at Fermoy, leaving for home on 25 September and joining the cadet battalion on 9 November 1917.

He was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant on 1 May 1918 and posted to the 3rd Battalion, Leinster Regiment. Released from service on 15 May 1919, he relinquished his commission on 4 December 1920.

After the war Buchanan emigrated to Canada and the US. In 1928 he returned to farm his uncle's property at Bridgetown in the parish of Burt. He died in 1977.


Four of William's six brothers served in the war. Stewart Buchanan of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers died on the Somme on 1 July 1916 and John Buchanan of the Canadian Infantry died of pneumonia in Belgium on 4 December 1918.




At Brooke Park, Londonderry, 1914


At Rouen, 1916


At Inch Level Farm, Burt, Co. Donegal, 1917




2nd Lieutenant Matthew Buchanan, Royal Irish Fusiliers


Private Stewart Buchanan (14448), 11th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, killed in action on 1 July 1916, aged 19.


Flying Officer Thomas Buchanan, Royal Air Force


Private John Buchanan (100848), 49th Battalion Canadian Infantry, and girls from Burt, around 1916. He died on 4 December 1918, aged 22.


Burt Presbyterian Church memorial plaque


Burt platoon, UVF, at Baronscourt in 1913


I am grateful to James Buchanan, second son of William, for making these images available.