Private Richard Busteed


Richard Busteed was born at 11 Jerusalem Street, Belfast, on 26 November 1895, son of Richard Busteed, a traveller, and his wife Margaret (nee Austin), both from Cork.

The 1901 Census shows the family living at 96 Deramore Avenue, Ormeau, County Down:  the father, aged 39, a clerk, mother, aged 27, and three children. The 1911 Census shows the family at 34 Salisbury Street, Windsor Ward, Antrim:  the father aged 50, a linen agent, the mother 34. They had been married 17 years.  Seven of their eight children were living with them (the other had died) – Richard 15, Thomas 13, Catherine 11, Mabel 9, John 7, Austin 4 and Lillian 1.

Richard enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 5 October 1916, aged 21 (No.2285).

In 1917 (prior to September) he was sent to France as a reinforcement for either the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment.

In September 1917 the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment was dismounted and the officers and men transferred to the infantry.  A number of men of the 1st Regiment were also transferred – mainly the more recent arrivals.

Most of the former Horsemen were transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, which was part of the 36th (Ulster) Division.  The battalion was subsequently known as the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers.  Private Busteed was formally transferred to the battalion on 20 September and issued a new number – 41546.  With 303 others he joined them in the field at Ruyalucout on 25 September.

In November and December 1917 the 9th Battalion played a role in the Battle of Cambrai. After seeing action in the attempt to capture the village of Moeuvres, on 4 December they were rushed back into the line south of Marcoing to help repel the German counter-attack. The battalion war diary reads as follows:

Arrived in support trenches at 5.30 am the 4th [December].

[4 December] Battn in the trenches south of Marcoing in support of 88th Brigade. Relieved Essex & Hants Batts in front line at 4.30 am.

[5 December] Battn in the line. Capt Flood killed at 9 am by shrapnel.

[6 December] Battn in the line. Two companies in front line one in Support and one in Reserve for use as Battalion counter attack company. Enemy shelling position very heavily. 5 casualties – 4 O.R's

Busteed was one of the men wounded at this time. He was evacuated to England and treated at St James's VAD Hospital, New Barnet, London.

It appears that Busteed recovered and returned to his battalion at the front, for the War Office Daily Casualty List of 14 June 1918 reported that he had again been wounded.

On 15 November 1918 he was discharged under paragraph 392 of King's Regulations – no longer physically fit for military service due to wounds.