Private James Greene

 

This North Irish Horseman was probably the Michael James Greene born on 2 January 1897 at Union Street, Lurgan, County Armagh, the last of nine children of retired RIC head constable Michael Greene and his wife Elizabeth (née Joyce). His father died when he was just two years old, and soon after, the family moved to Belfast. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 92 Killown Street with his mother and five of his six surviving siblings.

Greene enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 4 January 1915 (No.1373). 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.

At some point Greene must have fallen ill or been injured, and he was evacuated to the UK for treatment. On 9 July 1917 he was one of around thirty North Irish Horsemen not fit for front-line service who were transferred to the Labour Corps and posted to a home service labour company. Greene was issued regimental number 333705.

Greene may have been posted for duty at the North Irish Horse's Antrim depot. That would help identify the 'Trooper Green' mentioned in the following article from the Ballymena Observer of 21 June 1918:

 

SERIOUS MOTOR SMASH NEAR ANTRIM.
Two soldiers badly injured.

On Wednesday evening of last week a serious motor smash took place near Ballycraigy, on the leading road to Belfast, between a motor car owned by Mr. Young, of the motor garage, Antrim, and a couple of motor cyclists connected with the North Irish Horse, at present stationed at Antrim. It appears that the two soldiers, Sergeant-Major McLean and Trooper Green were riding on the one motor bicycle, going in the direction of Belfast, when they came into violent collision with the motor car, with the result that both the motor car and motor bicycle were smashed, and Trooper Green had to have his leg amputated, and Sergeant-Major McLean had his face badly injured and suffered from internal injuries. They were subsequently conveyed by a passing motor car to the Antrim Infirmary where they were surgically attended to by Dr. Scott, dispensary medical officer, and afterwards removed by the motor ambulance to the military hospital in Belfast in a very weak and exhausted condition, suffering from the loss of blood.

Mr. Frank Falls, Ballymena, who is employed by Mr. David King, of the cyclone motor and bicycle works, Wellington Street, Ballymena, gives a very graphic account of the accident ... He states that he was driving a motor car from Belfast to Ballymena in which were Mr. King, the owner, and Mr. Hugh Graham, a fellow employee. When nearing a part of the road between Dunadry Bridge and Muckamore, about 11-45 p.m., his attention was attracted to someone waving a red light on the road. On approaching the object he stopped his car and found that the light was in the possession of a man named Fleming, who had been driving the motor car with which the soldier cyclists collided. In his car were also Mr. Young, of the Garage, Antrim, and his wife, who were proceeding towards Antrim when the accident occurred. Mr. Falls further states that Sergt.-Major McLean, who had been driving the motor bicycle, had, as a result of the impact, been hurled through the glass wind-screen of the car and had his nose almost severed from his face. The unfortunate man had also a broken handle-bar of the bicycle impaled in his side. The other soldier, Trooper Green, had his foot practically severed from his left leg. It appears that he had been riding behind Sergt.-Major McLean, on the pillion seat of the bicycle, and it is presumed that he sustained his injuries by his ankle coming in contact with the edge of the radiator of the motor car. The Ballymena men immediately had the injured soldiers conveyed to the Antrim Infirmary, where they were attended by Dr. T. B. Hill Scott, as previously stated, and were subsequently removed to Belfast.

 

Greene was discharged on 17 June 1919, being 'no longer physically fit for war service' (paragraph 392(xvi), King's Regulations). He was granted a pension due to the injury to his left leg, his level of disability assessed at 50 per cent, and permanent.

Following his discharge Greene lived at 85 Omeath Street, Belfast. It seems probable that he was the Michael Greene, civil servant, of 44 Kensington Avenue, Belfast, who died on 2 February 1953 at the Mater Hospital, aged 56.