Private John Holden


The background of this North Irish Horseman is not clear, but he may be the John James Holden born on 19 November 1891 at Cloghmore, Rosslea, County Fermanagh, the second of seven children of sexton and farmer Thomas Holden and his wife Margaret (nee Gordon). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Cloghmore with his parents and six siblings and working on the family farm.

Holden enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 23 February and 19 March 1912 (No.681 – later Corps of Hussars No.71070). He embarked for France with A Squadron on 17 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

In May 1916 A Squadron came together with D and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps until February-March 1918, when the regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

Holden  remained with the regiment throughout the war, though how much time he spent in France and Belgium and how much at the Antrim depot is not known present.

In March 1915 he spent some time in hospital under observation for cerebral spinal meningitis.

Holden was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 25 February 1919.


If this North Irish Horseman was in fact the John Holden from Rosslea, it is likely that two of his brothers were the Joseph Holden and Alfred Holden who also served in the regiment during the war.