Private Matthew Crawford


Matthew Crawford was born (with the name Matthew Thompson) on 8 July 1893 at 58 Riga Street, Belfast, the second of three children of weaver Martha Agnes Steele Thompson. He was given the name Crawford after his mother married labourer John Crawford two years later. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 204 Leopold Street, Belfast, with his mother, adoptive father and half sister, and working as an apprentice iron turner.

On 16 January 1915 he married Mary Curry at the Albert Street Presbyterian Church. The couple had three children over the next four years.

Crawford enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 25 February and 1 March 1915 (No.1456). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot before embarking for France on 17 November 1915 with F Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 33rd Division.

In June 1916 F Squadron combined with C Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Crawford, 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. Crawford was issued regimental number 41209.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917, and perhaps also during the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918.

Crawford was wounded in September or October 1918 during the Advance to Victory Offensive.

He was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 3 April 1919.

Following the war he lived in Belfast at 24 Mossvale Street, then 4 Dunmoyle Street, and worked as a labourer.