Second Lieutenant William Scott Crawford Ferguson


William Scott Crawford Ferguson was born on 18 June 1889 at Coagh Street, Cookstown, County Tyrone, the fifth or sixth child of Robert Andrew Ferguson, a spirit merchant and proprietor of the Royal Hotel, and his wife Henrietta (nee Crawford). He was educated at The Academy, Cookstown, and by 1914 was working as a farmer.

Ferguson enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Belfast on 13 October 1914 (No.1309 – later Corps of Hussars No.71330). He was promoted to lance corporal on 20 January 1915 and corporal the following month. On 11 January 1916 he embarked for France with E Squadron, which was then serving as divisional cavalry to the 34th Division.

In May 1916 E Squadron joined with A and D Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps until March 1918.

Ferguson was promoted to lance sergeant on 17 June 1916 and sergeant on 12 March the following year. He was allowed special leave to Ireland from 21 September to 1 October 1916.

In the first months of 1917 he applied for a commission in the infantry, with preference for the Royal Irish Fusiliers. He left his regiment for officer cadet training in the UK in June 1917 and was attached to the 25th Reserve Brigade at the Curragh. On 9 November he reported for duty at the 17th Officer Cadet Battalion at Rhyl in Wales.

On 1 May 1918 Ferguson was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant and posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, at Maidstone. Two months later he embarked for France, where he was posted to the 8th Battalion, A Company.

Ferguson saw action with the battalion during the Advance to Victory offensive in the last months of the war. The battalion diary for 20 October 1918 states:

Attack on the village of Haussy. RE bridging detachment with one bridge per platoon accompanied the two leading platoons of "A" & "B" Companies for the crossing of the river Selle. ... "D" Company was allotted the task of mopping up the village of Haussy while the remainder of the battalion advanced to the final objective the high ground NE of the river Selle. The attack was entirely successful.

The diary went on to state a casualty list of 8 officers and 128 other ranks, but for some reason this entry was struck out. One casualty of the day was 2nd Lieutenant Ferguson, who had received a shrapnel wound to his left buttock (described in a later newspaper report as a thigh wound).

Ferguson was evacuated to England where he was admitted for treatment at Lady Evelyn Mason's hospital in London. He recovered quickly, a medical board on 30 November finding:

A fragment of metal inflicted a small wound in left buttock, one inch behind the great trochanter. No injury to sciatic nerve and no foreign body shown by X-Rays. The wound has healed.

After three weeks' leave he reported for duty with the Gloucesters at Maidstone.

Ferguson was demobilised on 28 January 1919 and relinquished his commission on 1 September 1921.