Private Daniel Commerford

 

The background of this North Irish Horseman is not clear. He may have been the Daniel Commerford born in St John's, Cashel, County Tipperary, one of at least three children of labourer Daniel Commerford and his wife Margaret (née Moloney). On 5 May 1902 he enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps at Manchester (No17621), but was discharged 88 days later being "not likely to become an efficient soldier".

What is known for certain about Daniel Commerford, the North Irish Horseman, is as follows. Born around 1880, in 1903 he was living at 47 South Richmond Street, Dublin, and working as a coachman. On 19 September that year he married Edith Laverty at the Dublin Registrar's Office. The couple had six children over the next ten years. By the time of the 1911 Census Daniel and his family were living at Ballymacallen, Tullylish, County Down. He was working as a coachman and gave his place of birth as Oxford, England.

Commerford enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 19 of 20 October 1914 (No.1324 – later Corps of Hussars No.71336). On 1 May 1915 he embarked for France with D Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 51st Division.

On 14 August that year he was returning from France to Ireland, probably on leave, when the Irish Mail train in which he was travelling crashed between Rugby and Bislworth, killing at least ten people and injuring many more. Commerford was uninjured, and the newspapers reported "the prompt aid which was rendered by Irish soldiers returning from the front".

Commerford remained with the regiment until July 1918, when he was transferred to the Labour Corps (No.570084). On 25 February 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. He was granted a pension due to 'disordered action of the heart' and anaemia, which were attributed to his service – his level of disability was assessed to 50 per cent as late as May 1922.

By 1947 Commerford was living with his wife in Lille Park, Finaghy, Belfast, and working as a motor driver. He died there on 27 October that year and was buried in the City Cemetery.