Private William Cummins


William Cummins (or Cummings) was born on 11 October 1888 at Ballyaghagan, Belfast, the third of four children of labourer James Cummins and his wife Ellen (nee Macartney). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Milewater Road, Belfast, with his father and three brothers and working as a soap boiler.

Cummins enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 26 January 1915 (No.1424). He embarked for France with F Squadron on 17 November 1915.

In June 1916 F Squadron joined 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 dismounted and most of the men transferred to the infantry. Like the majority, on 20 September Cummins was transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – and issued regimental number 41527.

It is likely that Cummins saw action in the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917, and during the retreat from St Quentin in March 1918 during the German spring offensive.

The War Office Daily Casualty List of 13 June 1918 reported that Cummins had been wounded. This was probably during the fighting around Mount Kemmel on the Ypres front in April that year. Other records show that he was wounded in the neck.

On 20 March 1919 Cummins was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. He was granted a pension from 25 August 1919, his level of disability rated at 40 per cent as late as November 1922.