Lance Corporal Joseph Lucas

 

Joseph Lucas was born on 3 March 1890 at Edenderry, County Down, the second of six children of power loom tenter James Lucas and his wife Martha Jane (née Robinson). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 81 Coolbeg Street, Belfast, with his parents and four surviving siblings, and working as a labourer. On 15 November 1913 Joseph married Eleanor Johnston at St John's Church of Ireland Church, Belfast. The couple had two children in the next three years.

Lucas enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 30 December 1914 (No.1364). On 17 November 1915 he embarked for France with F Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 33rd Division.

In June 1916 F Squadron combined with C Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men transferred to the infantry. Like most, Lucas was posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – on 20 September, joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. He was issued regimental number 41238. He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

On 28 December 1917 Lucas was one of twenty-four former North Irish Horsemen who transferred from the 9th (NIH) Battalion to the Tank Corps (No.304878). Following training at the Tank Corps Depot at Bovington near Wareham, Dorset, he re-embarked for France, where he was attached to one of the Tank Corps battalions.

Lucas was seriously wounded, in the right leg (tibia and fibula), during the Advance to Victory offensive, probably during August or early September 1918. On 14 March 1919 he was discharged, being no longer physically fit for war service (paragraph 392 xvi, King's Regulations). He received a disability pension due to his wounds – as late as 1922 the degree of disablement was assessed at 30 per cent.

After his discharge Lucas returned to Belfast. He died in hospital there on 24 June 1965.

 

Lucas's father and a brother, Thomas, also served during the war, the former in the Royal Irish Fusiliers and the latter in the Royal Irish Rifles.