Private John Patterson


John Patterson was born on 26 January 1899 in North Street, Ballymena, County Antrim, the third of ten children of car driver (later general labourer) James Patterson and his wife Maggie (nee McMullan). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living with his parents and six siblings at nearby Clonavon Road.

Patterson enlisted in the North Irish Horse in late September or early October 1918 (regimental number unknown at present). The Armistice was signed a month later and he did not have the opportunity to serve overseas.

On 20 December 1918 the Ballymena Observer reported that:

William Booth, Ballymena, charged John Patterson, Ballymena, who appeared in the uniform of the North Irish Horse, with alleged assault on 9th inst.

Mr. Mehaffey, C.P.S., said Patterson was an absentee from the N.I.H., and had been brought to the court by the police.

William Booth deposed that the defendant, on the day in question, followed him up Ballymoney Street into the Fair Hill. He asked complainant if he wanted fighting, and the latter said no. He turned to pull witness off a cart, and trouble had been going on since 12th July.

The Chairman -- Did he pull you off the cart?

Complainant -- No, I jumped off.

He didn't strike you then? -- No he didn't get time.

Patterson said that the complainant told people he had weapons ready for him. Defendant got a little drink and he thought he would have a shot at them.

Mr. Roche -- Then you will go to jail. If you think you can carry on as you like, you are making a grave mistake. The fact that you are a soldier gives you no license.

Mr. McGinley -- He is not long a soldier.

The Chairman said the magistrates were of opinion that both the men should be warned, and Booth should give no occasion.

Booth -- I never gave him any occasion.

The Chairman said that because Patterson had on the uniform, that was no reason why he should go and threaten people.

Their worships dismissed the case.

By 1920 Patterson had been demobilised and was living at 17 Clonavon Road. On 20 April that year he married Agnes Killen at St Patrick's Church of Ireland Church, Kirkinriola, Ballymena.