Private Hiram Irwin


Hiram Irwin was born on 10 August 1883 at Ballymaguire, Stewartstown, County Tyrone, the fourth of eight children of farmer David Irwin and his wife Margaret (nee Foster). By 1911 he as living at Ballymaguire with his parents and five siblings and working on the farm.

Irwin enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 5 March 1909 (No.304 – later Corps of Hussars No.71018). He embarked for France with A Squadron on 17 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

He was mentioned in a report in the Mid-Ulster Mail on 2 October 1915:

Trooper W. Cunningham, North Irish Horse, whose home is in Drapersfield, arrived home on the 16th for a short leave, and left again on the 20th. he went out to France with the first contingent, and saw a good deal of fighting in the earlier stages of the war. During recent months he has been on Sir John French's bodyguard. He was looking very fit and in good heart, after over a year on active service. His immediate chums in France are Troopers Wesley McClelland, Hiram Irwin, John Marks, Joseph MacKenzie, Wm. Anderson, and A. J. McKenna, and these were all well when he left.

In May 1916 A Squadron joined with D and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps until March-April 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.

In August or September 1918, during the initial phase of the Advance to Victory offensive, Irwin was wounded in the right shoulder and gassed.

On 11 February 1919 he was discharged under Paragraph 392 (xvi a) of King's Regulations – being surplus to military requirements (having suffered impairment since entry into the service).

After the war he returned to farming. In 1956 while living at Edernagh, Ardtrea, County Tyrone, he fell ill. He died at South Tyrone Hospital, Dungannon, on 18 August 1956.