Lance Corporal Albert Hughes


Albert Hughes was born on 23 December 1893 at 36 North Queen Street, Belfast, the first of two children of carter (later shipyard labourer) James Hughes and his wife Martha (née Wilson). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 40 Sixth Street, Belfast, with his widowed mother, sister and half sister, and working as a carter. Soon after, it appears, he emigrated to Canada, where he lived at 116 Lippencourt Street, Toronto, and worked as a carter for the firm Nasmith Ltd.

Hughes returned to Ireland around the time war was declared, and on 1 September 1914 enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim (No.1067 – later Corps of Hussars No.71220). On 1 May 1915 he embarked for France with D Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 51st Division.

On 10 September 1915 Hughes was awarded 2 days' Field Punishment No.1 for being insolent to an NCO.

In May 1916 D Squadron came together with A 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.

Hughes remained with the regiment throughout the war. On 13 July 1918 he was promoted to lance corporal, but relinquished to rank six weeks later. He attended the V Corps Lewis Gun School from 12 to 26 August.

Hughes was attached to a battalion of the 38th (Welsh) Division as a Lewis-gunner when he was badly gassed by mustard gas on 29 August 1918 during the initial stages of the Advance to Victory offensive. He was evacuated from No.34 Casualty Clearing Station to No.12 General Hospital at Rouen, and then to the UK, where he was first admitted to the Endell Street Military Hospital in London, and then to the Convalescent Hospital in Randalstown. By 26 November he had recovered sufficiently to report for duty at the North Irish Horse base depot at Antrim.

On 13 February 1919 Hughes was discharged as 'surplus to military requirements, having suffered impairment since entry into the service' (paragraph 392 xvi(a), King's Regulations). (Another record states that he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve on this date.) He was assessed by a medical board, stating:

[I] have a very bad cough in the morning and feel weak after it. I am very short of wind. It started on 29/8/18 on which date I was gassed in France.

His level of disability was determined at 20 per cent.

After the war Hughes emigrated to the United States. He died at West Chester, Pennsylvania, on 9 October 1937.