Private William John Featherstone


William John Featherstone was born on 19 June 1892 at Upchurch, Sittingbourne, Kent, the third of eleven children of farm bailiff William John Featherstone and his wife Bertha Ellen (née Morgan). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Gore Farm, Upchurch, at the home of his uncle, and working as a horseman on the farm.

Featherstone enlisted in the Hussars of the Line at Chatham on 17 December 1912 (No.9480). Posted to the 3rd (King's Own) Hussars, he embarked for France with his regiment on 15 August 1914.

In September 1917, as part of a general reduction in the size of the cavalry, a number of men of the 3rd Hussars left the regiment. The war diary of 15 September records that:

56 other ranks of the regiment proceeded by rail from Hesdin to the Rouen Base for transfer to Infantry on the reduction of the 100 dismounted men allowed to Cavalry regiments.

Between twenty-eight and thirty-four of these men, including Featherstone,  were transferred to the North Irish Horse, joining the 1st (NIH) Regiment in the field on 11 October. Featherstone was issued regimental number 2721.

In February-March 1918 the regiment, which had been serving as corps cavalry to V Corps, was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit. This meant a 25 per cent reduction in its numbers, and Featherstone was one of the men transferred out, to the 19th (Queen Alexandra's Own Royal) Hussars on 2 April.

On 2 June 1918 he returned to the UK, where he was posted to the 2nd Reserve Cavalry Regiment at the Curragh. He was posted to the 8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars on 12 February 1919, and the 4th (Queen's Own) Hussars in September that year.

Transferred to Section B, Army Reserve, on 14 January 1920, Featherstone was briefly recalled to duty with the Hussars between April and June 1921. Around this time he was issued a new army number, 530178. He was discharged on the expiration of his twelve years' service on 16 December 1924. His military character was recorded as 'bad'.