Private George Herbert Cochrane


George Herbert Cochrane was born on 4 March 1881 at 1 South View Cottages, Belfast, the last of six children of linen lapper (later linen sample maker) Thomas Cochrane and his English-born wife Susan (née Ealden). On 13 July 1905 he married Jane Adair at the Albert Bridge Congregational Church, Belfast. She died, however, on 15 April 1906, soon after the birth of their first child. (The child died a week later.) On 10 July 1908 Cochrane married Maggie Burns at the Cregagh Presbyterian Church, Knockbreda. The couple had two children in the next two years. By the time of the 1911 Census they were living at 39 Trevor Street, Holywood, County Down, George working as a book-binder.

Cochrane enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 11 November 1915 (No.1847). He was aged 34 years at the time. He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot before embarking for France on 14 May 1917, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Cochrane, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. Cochrane was issued regimental number 41248 and posted to D Company.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

On 28 December 1917 Cochrane was one of twenty-four former men of the 1st and 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments who transferred from the 9th (NIH) Battalion to the Tank Corps (No.304864). While training at the Tank Corps Depot at Bovington near Wareham, Dorset, he was posted to the newly-formed 17th (Armoured Car) Battalion, which on 27 April 1918 embarked for France. The battalion was engaged in ten separate actions from June to November 1918.

Cochrane returned to the UK on 23 January 1919. On 27 May he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war he lived at Cornwall Gardens, 21 Brassey Street, Belfast. By 1948 he was living at 11a May Street and working as a sample cover manufacturer. He died at Newtownbreda District Hospital on 26 January 1948.