Lieutenant James Roy Lindsay Connar



James Roy Lindsay Connar was born on 13 January 1896 at 78 Limestone Road, Belfast, the last of fourteen children of national School teacher James Connar and his wife Isabella (nee Lindsay). He was educated at Skegoneil School, Belfast, and by a private tutor from the Queen's University. By 1911 he was living at 20 Chichester Avenue, Belfast, with his parents and five siblings and working as a clerk for a rubber tyre company. By 1914 he was living at Whinfield, Greenisland.

Connar enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Londonderry on 10 August 1914 (No.965). On 17 January 1915, while with D Squadron at Cople, Bedford, awaiting orders for France, Connar was disciplined for being absent from stables. He was deprived of two days' pay. He embarked for France with the squadron on 1 May 1915.

On 7 May at Busnes Connar was absent from the guard-room, delaying the turnout to the orderly officer, for which he was punished with extra duty as stable guard. On 4 June at Carvin, after being late for stables, he was given two days' Field Punishment No.2.

Connar applied for a commission on 12 February 1917. He left France for the UK on 9 April, and after a period of leave, on 14 June 1917, reported for duty at No.1 Officer Cadet Battalion, Newton Ferrers, Devon. Initially he had applied to train as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps, but he was found unfit for this role.

On 26 September 1917 Connar was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant. He was posted to the 10th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. Later that year he embarked for France, where he was posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, reporting for duty on 20 December.

Connar's battalion was on the St Quentin front on 21 March 1918 when the German spring offensive began. According to the battalion diary for that day:

German Barrage opened at 4.30 a.m. The Battalion took up position in battle zone and was heavily engaged in a fight which lasted for many hours, was forced to withdraw before superior numbers at the end of the day the following officers were "missing" Capt. Neville, Deane. Lieuts. Beckingsale. 2/Lieuts. McKenny, Lemon, Glover, Hall, Harrison, and Coles and 2/Lieut. Connar wounded – 10 Other Ranks Killed 55 wounded and 275 Missing."

Connar had received a bad shrapnel wound to his face, in his own words "lost my right eye, nose smashed, & right cheek bone fractured". He was treated in hospital in France until 2 May, when he was evacuated to England. He was sent to The Queen's Hospital at Frognal, Sidcup, which was then doing pioneering work in plastic surgery. A medical board there on 16 May listed his injuries as: loss of right eye; loss of the nasal supports, a large portion of the superior maxilla on the right side and a large portion of soft tissues of the nose; deformity of the right eye socket. Through 1918 and 1919 he underwent multiple operations to heal his wounds and repair the facial deformities.

Connar was promoted to lieutenant on 26 March 1919. He relinquished his commission "on account of ill health caused by wounds" on 20 March 1920. Later that year he was released from hospital at Sidcup. He was awarded a wound pension of £100 a year.


Connar's brother, Henry Percy Connar, also served in the North Irish Horse. He also went to France with D Squadron, and was later commissioned, serving in the Royal Irish Fusiliers and Tank Corps.