Saddler Corporal John Russell


Probably the John Park Russell born on 27 June 1889 at St Johnston, County Donegal, one of eleven children of harness-maker and saddler Robert Russell and his wife Jane (nee Park). He spent much of his early life with his family at Bishop Street, Londonderry.

Russell enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 20 August 1914 (No.1014 – later Corps of Hussars No.71200). Soon after he was promoted to the rank of saddler corporal.

He embarked for France on 17 November 1915 as part of F Squadron of the North Irish Horse. In June 1916 the squadron joined with C Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment.

On 28 July 1917 while serving at General Headquarters, Russell faced a Field General Court Martial on a charge of being drunk while on active service. He was found not guilty.

In September 1917 the 2nd Regiment was dismounted and most of its men transferred to the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. However Russell did not join them, probably because his skills as a saddler were more in demand at the North Irish Horse reserve at Antrim, or in the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment in France (which at that point was still a mounted unit).

On 2 April 1919 Russell was transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.