Private James Forsythe


James Forsythe was born on 26 April 1896 at Newtownhamilton, County Armagh, the fourth of nine children of tailor James Forsythe and his wife Jane (nee Taylor). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 17 Armagh Street, Newtownhamilton with his parents and seven surviving siblings.

Forsythe enlisted in the North Irish Horse with his older brother William John Forsythe between 1 and 5 February 1913 (No.797). He embarked for France with C Squadron on 20 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

In June 1916 C Squadron combined with F 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 transferred to the infantry. Like most, Forsythe joined the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – on 20 September. He was issued regimental number 41490.

It is likely that Forsythe saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917, and during the retreat from St Quentin from 21-28 March 1918. He was wounded soon after, in the left leg, probably in the fighting between Wulverghem and Kemmel on the Ypres front in April 1918.

Forsythe was discharged on 20 February 1920 and was granted a pension, his level of disability assessed at 60 per cent.

He later moved to Belfast, where he lived at 7 Thiepval Avenue with his wife Ellen and worked as a tailor. He died at the Royal Victoria Hospital on 2 June 1937.