Private John Irwin


John Irwin was born on 21 October 1895 at Glasdrummond, Mullaghglass, County Armagh, the second of seven children of stone-cutter John Irwin and his wife Alice (née McComb). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Glasdrummond with his widowed mother, four surviving siblings and an uncle, and working as a cycle apprentice.

Irwin enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 19 October 1914 (No.1321) – he gave his civilian occupation as 'motor engineer'. On 17 November 1915 he embarked for France with F Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 33rd Division.

In June 1916 F Squadron combined with C Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men transferred to the infantry. Irwin, however, transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (No.144153), with the rank of Air Mechanic Class 3, on 28 November 1917. Records show his trade classification was as a cook.

He transferred to the Royal Air Force on its formation on 1 April 1918, with the rank of Private Class 2.

Irwin left France for the UK on 17 February 1919. On 19 March that year he was demobilised and transferred to the RAF's G Reserve.