Private Alexander Chestnut



Alexander Chestnut (or Chesnut) was born on 6 November 1888 at Moycraig, Drumtullagh, County Antrim, the seventh of eight children of shoemaker James Chesnut and his wife Ann Jane (née McCaw). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living in nearby Mosside with his parents, two of his siblings, two nephews and a great-aunt, and working as a National School teacher.

Chesnut enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 2 and 7 April 1915 (No.1473 – later Corps of Hussars No.71394). According to the Ballymoney Free Press of 15 April:

Mr. Chestnut had been recommended for a commission, but not being content to await developments, he, with a commendable spirit, volunteered as a trooper.

After training at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp, on 22 September 1915 he embarked for France with a reinforcement draft for A, C and D Squadrons – he was probably posted to A or D Squadron.

In May 1916 A and D Squadrons came together with E Squadron to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps until February-March 1918, when the regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

The Ballymoney Free Press of 14 March 1918 reported that:

Trooper A. Chestnut, Mosside, who before enlistment was assistant master in Dervock School, has left to rejoin his unit in France after fourteen days' leave.

Chesnut remained with the regiment until the end of the war. It is possible that at some point he trained as an officer cadet. On 20 July 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war Chesnut returned to teaching. He died in Dalriada Hospital, Ballycastle, on 15 April 1972.


Belfast Telegraph, 17 April 1972


Image of Chestnut sourced from Public Member Trees - contributor 'lubach35'.