Private George Kennedy


George Kennedy was born on 11 June 1897 at Bannybannon, Annesborough, County Down, the fourth of eight children of farm labourer James Kennedy and his wife Elizabeth (née McDowell). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Ballylough, Dundrum, County Down, with his parents and six of his siblings and employed as a mill-worker.

Kennedy enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 7 April 1915 (No.1474), overstating his age by two years. He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France on 23 February 1916. There he was posted to one of the squadrons then serving in France.

In May and June 1916 A, D and E Squadrons 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.

Kennedy, however, had suffered a series of illnesses – chronic osteomyelitis of the rib beginning on 15 March, 'sinus of chest wall' from 30 May, and inflammation of the mid-ear from 20 July. He was evacuated to England on 3 August and on 8 September was admitted to the Belfast Hospital. From 21 September to 8 November 1916 he was treated in Ballymena's Waveney Hospital before returning to Belfast Hospital for a medical board assessment. The board found that his illness was due to:

[an] accident occurred 4 yrs ago before enlistment. States a cycle accident fractured [rib] & injured lung. Not result of active service nor aggravated thereby. Permanent, but will improve.

On 11 December 1916 Kennedy he was discharged, being 'no longer physically fit for war service' (paragraph 392 (xvi), King's Regulations). His military character was recorded as 'very good'.


Ballymena Observer, 29 September 1916