Sergeant Francis Cunningham


The background of this North Irish Horseman is not clear, but he may have been the Francis Cunningham born in 1886 at Uttoxter, Staffordshire, the sixth of eight children of iron moulder Joseph Cunningham and his wife Mary Jane (née Rankin). A year or two later he moved with his family to Belfast. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 110 York Street, Belfast, with his widowed mother (who was working as a confectioner and tobacconist) and his two younger siblings, and working as a stockbroker's clerk. He later lived at 18 Castleton Gardens.

Cunningham enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 14 January 1915 (No.1401 – later Corps of Hussars No.71374). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot before embarking for France sometime between 1916 and 1918, possibly with E Squadron on 11 January 1916.

Cunningham remained with the regiment through much of the war. During 1918 he returned to the UK to train as an officer cadet. The war ended, however, before he could be commissioned. On 20 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.