Lance Corporal John Nesbitt Kerr



John Nesbitt Kerr was born on 2 January 1897 at Altnaveigh, Newry, County Armagh, the third of seven children of farmer John Kerr and his wife Agnes (nee Little). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Altnaveigh, with his parents and five siblings.

He was probably the J. Kerr who enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 19 and 28 October 1915 (No.1757). On 18 May 1916 he embarked for France, where he was posted to one of the five North Irish Horse squadrons then serving with the British Expeditionary Force. In the latter half of 1917 Kerr transferred to the Military Mounted Police (No. P/13367), remaining in this role until the end of the war.

According to family recollections, although Kerr rarely spoke of his war experiences, he mentioned serving in France during winter, when it was so cold that when he washed his hair it would turn to icicles before he could put a comb through it.

After the war Kerr returned to farming at Altnaveigh. On 6 April 1923 he married Martha Ann Elliott. Three weeks later the couple left the UK to settle in New Zealand. He died there on 14 March 1973, and is buried in Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland.




I am grateful to Colleen Kent for permitting me to reproduce these images of her grandfather. They were taken by H. Allison & Son, Armagh, Newry, Warrenpoint. Gravestone image sourced from the Billion Graves website.