Poppy In memoriam Poppy

Private David McCleery Gilpin


David McCleery Gilpin was born on 1 September 1892 at 2 Beechfield Street, Belfast, the last of ten children of master-mariner William Gilpin and his wife Fanny (nee Montgomery). By 1911 he was living with his parents, five siblings and five other relatives at 67 Castlereagh Street, Belfast, in the final year of a five-year apprenticeship with linen business R. McBride & Co.

Gilpin enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 28 May 1915 (No.1634). Soon after, however, he fell ill. Diagnosed as suffering from tuberculosis, he was discharged on 29 September 1915 as being "not likely to become an efficient soldier" (paragraph 392 iii(c) of King's Regulations). His character was recorded as "good".

Gilpin's tuberculosis was initially assessed as pre-dating his military service. However this was overturned on appeal, a minute dated 10 November 1916 stated:

[The disease] originated at Antrim Aug '15. States he was on duty attending diseased horses in open field without shelter. He had a bad wetting & reported sick. He is losing weight, now only 9st 5lb. He has a constant hacking cough with profuse expectoration. TB positive in sputum. ... Breathing shallow & rapid. ... Result of ordinary military service & aggravated thereby. Result of exposure to contagion of TB during ordinary military service."

As a result, Gilpin was granted a military pension. He died at home on 7 May 1917 and was buried in the Carnmoney Parish Church (Church of Ireland) Cemetery.

The circumstances and date of Private Gilpin's death suggest that he qualifies for commemoration as a casualty of the Great War. A submission has therefore been made to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission through the In From the Cold Project.