Corporal William Craig


This North Irish Horseman was probably the William Craig born in Belfast around 1887, the son of William Craig, stone-cutter. On 19 June 1909 he married Mary McGee at St Malachy's Roman Catholic Church, Belfast. Their first child was born a year later. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Ballymoney Street, Belfast, with his father, step-mother and daughter, and working as a stone cutter.

Craig enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 13 August 1914 (No.1000 – later Corps of Hussars No.71192). Just a week later, on 20 August, he embarked for France with C Squadron, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

In January 1915 Craig was admitted to hospital suffering from a severe contusion of the right knee. The Belfast News-Letter reported:

The parents of Corporal William Craig, North Irish Horse, have received news that he is at present in No. 3 General Hospital, France. He joined the colours at the outbreak of the war, and prior to enlisting was a carter in the employment of the Midland Railway. His parents reside at 14, Ballymoney Street, Belfast.

Craig's subsequent record with the North Irish Horse is not known at present, but records show he later served with the 7th (Queen's Own) Hussars before transferring to the 21st (Empress of India's) Lancers (No. L/9405). This may have occurred in February-March 1918, when the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, meaning a 25 per cent reduction in the regiment's numbers. Many of the surplus men were transferred to other cavalry regiments.

On 2 March 1919 Craig was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.