Private William Kyle


William Kyle was born on 1 March 1895 at Bracknamuckley, Portglenone, County Antrim, the third of six children of steel smelter James Kyle and his wife Ellen (née Greer). At around this time the family moved to Scotland. At the time of the 1901 Census they were living in Bellshill, Lanarkshire.

Kyle was attested into the army at Motherwell on 11 December 1915 under the Derby Scheme. He gave his address as 11 Union Terrace, Mossend, Lanarkshire, and his occupation as steel plate ricker. On 19 September 1916 he was mobilised, reporting for duty at the North Irish Horse's Antrim reserve depot. He was issued regimental number 2278.

While in training at Antrim it was discovered that his eyesight was defective. On 17 January 1917 the regiment's medical officer wrote:

The Musketry Instructor reports that there is no use in persevering any further as he can make nothing of him. I should like to know:
(a) If glasses could be supplied that would render him efficient.
(b) Your opinion as to the man’s capacity as a marksman & as an efficient Cavalry or Infantry soldier.
(c) A considerable number of N. I. Horse are being drafted into Infantry regiments but I am anxious to get men transferred to Transport Labour or other battalions who cannot see well enough to make them of use in the firing line. What in your opinion should be done with this man.

Kyle was provided with glasses.

On 16 April 1917 he was admonished and lost a day's pay for being 'absent off pass'.

On 9 July 1917 Kyle was one of around thirty North Irish Horsemen who, being not physically fit for front-line service, were transferred to the Labour Corps and posted to No.664 Home Service Labour Company. Kyle was issued regimental number 333727. It appears, based on the records of some of these men, that they continued to serve at the North Irish Horse reserve depot at Antrim.

On 10 November 1917 Kyle was transferred back into the North Irish Horse (No.72036), remaining on duty at Antrim.

On 1 June 1918 a medical assessment determined that Kyle was fit for home service only, and six days later he was transferred to the Military Foot Police (No. P/15577) with the rank of lance corporal. He did not last long in that role, however. On 6 September he was deprived of his lance stripe and lost 6 days' pay for being 'absent from tattoo from 16 August until reporting to barracks about 2.30 pm 22 August'. He was transferred back to the Labour Corps on 26 September (No.663399) and posted as a storeman to the 361 Reserve Employment Company at Newtownards.

Kyle spent almost a month in the Newtownards Auxiliary Military Hospital suffering from influenza.

On 25 February 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. His military character was recorded as 'good'.

After the war Kyle returned to Bellshill in Scotland, marrying Jessie McDonald there on 6 January 1922. He died in the Law Hospital, Motherwell, in 1966.