Private Alfred Ernest Karr



Alfred Ernest Karr was born on 8 June 1898 at the Constabulary Barracks, Bangor, County Down, the fourth of six children of RIC sergeant Robert Karr and his wife Ellen (nee Millar). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living with his parents and four siblings at 18 Carlisle Street, Belfast.

Karr enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 3 and 5 May 1915 (No.1515). Whether he saw overseas service with the regiment is not known at present, but it seems likely.

In July 1917 he transferred to the South Irish Horse (No.3141). Within weeks, however, the two South Irish Horse regiments in France were disbanded and converted to a new infantry battalion – the 7th (South Irish Horse) Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment. Karr was assigned regimental number 25417.

Karr was wounded in December 1917 and, having rejoined the battalion, was captured during the German spring offensive in March 1918. It was two months before his family learned of his fate. He remained a prisoner of war until the end of hostilities in November 1918.

Following his repatriation, on 6 April 1919 Karr was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. He worked as a clerk for many years, including for the shipbuilding firm Harland and Wolff. In his later life he moved to England. He died in Islington, London, on 18 October 1985.



Karr's brothers also served in the war – Robert Joseph as a 2nd engineer officer on HMS Monitor, and William Herbert as a lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery.


Images from the Belfast Evening Telegraph kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster (