Private Edmond Childs


Edmond Childs was born on 6 January 1893 at 34 Derwent Street, Belfast, the third of five children of shipyard rivetter William John Childs and his wife Sarah (nee Emerson). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living with his family at 11 Brandon Terrace, Sydenham, Belfast, and serving an apprenticeship as a compositor.

Childs enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 19 and 28 October 1915 (No.1753). In 1916 or the first half of 1917 he embarked for France, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments.

In September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was dismounted and most of its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the infantry. After training at the 36th (Ulster) Division Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur, most of the men were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers on 20 September and soon after were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – re-named the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt. Childs was issued regimental number 41340 and posted to B Company. He probably saw action with the battalion during the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Childs was one of the many of the 9th (NIH) Battalion listed as missing following the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918. It was later learned that he had been wounded.

After recovering from his wounds he was posted to the 11th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, returning to France with the battalion at the end of July 1918. On 29 August the battalion was absorbed into the 5th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, part of the 16th (Irish) Division. From September until the Armistice on 11 November they took part in the Advance to Victory offensive, moving from Noeux les Mines (south of Bethune) to Antoing (south of Tournai in Belgium).

Childs was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, in 1919. He returned to Belfast, living at Brandon Terrace and working as a compositor. On 26 January 1920 he married Margaret Wood at Elmwood Presbyterian Church, Belfast.