Corporal John Forbes DeVoy


John Forbes DeVoy was born on 23 July 1894 in Court Street, Newtownards, County Down, the fifth of six children of saddler John DeVoy and his wife Eleanor Maria (née McCracken). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living in South Street, Newtownards, with his widowed mother and his two surviving siblings, and working as a hosiery apprentice.

DeVoy enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 27 and 29 January 1915 (No.1431). 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 DeVoy, 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. DeVoy was issued regimental number 41199.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917. No record has been found of his experiences with the regiment during 1918. On 19 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war DeVoy lived at 60 South Street, Newtownards, and worked as a warehouseman. On 12 May 1921 he married Bertha Morgan in the Church of Ireland Abbey Church, Bangor.


According to the Presbyterian Church in Ireland's Roll of Honour, DeVoy was "promoted in the field" to the rank of 2nd lieutenant. I have found not record that confirms this.


DeVoy's brother, Samuel, also served in the war, as a sergeant in the 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. He was killed in action on the Somme on 1 July 1916 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.