Private George Joseph Close

 

 

George Joseph Close was born on 28 April 1881 at Doctor's Lane, Banbridge, County Down, second of eight children of general labourer Joseph Close and his wife Elizabeth (formerly Smart). His father died when George was 13 years old.

Both George and his brother William served in the Boer War – George probably Trooper George Close (No.45106) of the 38th Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry.

On 29 August 1902 Close married Mary Ann Jennings at Seapatrick, County Down. Over the next eleven years they had five children. By 1911 Close was living at Seapatrick and working as an oiler in a spinning mill.

He enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 9 or 10 September 1914 (No.1191 – later Corps of Hussars No.71273). On 1 May 1915 he embarked for France as part of D Squadron, serving with the squadron through the war, including as part of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment.

During the Advance to Victory offensive in the last months of the war, the regiment, by then converted to a corps cyclist unit, saw much action on reconnaissance, signalling and communication duties for the divisions of V Corps. Close was one of a number of men of the regiment awarded a Military Medal for the part he played in the fighting in those months.

Close was transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 20 February 1919.

 

Three of Close's brothers also served in the war. Robert, of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action at Hill 60 on 7 May 1915. William, also of the 2nd Battalion, was killed at Hooge on 25 September 1915. Hugh Henry of the 1st Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, took part in the landing at Gallipoli and was twice wounded there. He was wounded again in 1917.

 

 

Image from the Belfast Evening Telegraph, kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster (www.greatwarbelfastclippings.com).