Private John Johnstone


This North Irish Horseman was probably the John Johnston born in 1892 at Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire, one of at least seven children of bus driver James Henry Johnston and his wife Mary Ann (née Neeson). The family had moved to Lancashire from Ireland around 1890, but returned a decade later, living in Belfast. By the time of the 1911 Census John was living at 8 Nore Street, Belfast, with his widowed mother and four siblings, and working as a general labourer.

Johnstone enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 3 and 5 October 1914 (No.1263 – later Corps of Hussars No.71309). On 28 April 1915 he embarked for France with a reinforcement draft for A and C Squadrons.

In May and June 1916 A, D and E Squadrons of the North Irish Horse combined to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, and C and F Squadrons joined the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, each serving as corps cavalry units.

Johnstone remained with the regiment throughout the war, though how much time he spent in France and Belgium and how much at the Antrim reserve camp is not known at present. On 20 February 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war Johnstone lived at 7 Nore Street, and worked as a labourer.