Sergeant William Lockhart

 

 

William Ewart Gladstone Lockhart (No.346) was born on 18 August 1888. A farmer from Jerrettspass, Newry, he enlisted in the North Irish Horse in March or April 1909. Lockhart embarked for France with A Squadron, North Irish Horse, on 17 August 1914.

In 1917 he was transferred to the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, when the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment was dismounted and absorbed into that battalion (No.41543).

Lockhart was captured at Erches on 27 March 1918 during the German Kaiserschlacht offensive, and spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner in Germany.

He returned to Jerrettspass after the war where he bought a farm, married (in 1922) and became an elder in the local church. He died 4 June 1964, aged 76 and was buried at First Drumbanagher and Jerrettspass Presbyterian Church.

 

The picture above shows Sergeant Lockhart with D Squadron Sergeants in walking out dress around 1910 (back row, second from left).

 

Newry Reporter, 3 December 1914

 

The picture above shows Lockhart (second from left standing) with A Squadron sergeants, probably in 1917 in France. The man sitting, centre, is Warrant Officer Class 2 Humphrey Boyd.

 

The above a silk postcard was sent home for Christmas 1916. On the reverse it reads:

2nd Army HQ, British Expeditionary Force, 20th Decr 1916

Dear Aggie, Rec'd your card from Belfast. I have been laid up with the Influenza since I came back from leave but glad to say I am a lot better now. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, Willie Lockhart.

 

 

Two postcards that Lockhart sent home from the Westfalia prisoner of war camp (in the first he is third from left at front, with arms folded).

 

Transcripts of letters sent home by Lockhart during this period appear below.

13th April 1918: Dear Mother, Well I am sure you will be anxious to know as to my whereabouts. I sent you a card a week ago, hope you received it, don't be worrying as I am in a good camp and am quite well. Harold Barton is with me, T McElroy and a lot more of the chaps I know. There are several things I want. Tobacco, pipes, matches, carbolic soap, razors etc. I believe the Red Cross fund supply parcels, with subscriptions being sent. Tell Charles [his brother] to write to Trimble of the "Armagh Guardian" he will give him full particulars as he has to do with the 9th Batt R.I. Fusiliers. With love, Willie.

 

30 April 1918 [written on one of the POW camp postcards above to his brother]: As you will see we have moved [POW camp]. This will be the address in the meantime. I am quite well and am getting settled down. How is everything at home. I will be glad when I get a letter. I mentioned in one of the cards for you to write to Trimble of the Armagh 'Guardian'. Send him my address with height for clothes 5ft 9ins and size 8.5 boots. Love to Mother and all. Willie

 

8th May 1918: Dear Mother, Well it is time for letter writing again twice a month, a card every week is allowed, so I hope you will get them although I believe it takes a long time from they leave here. I am keeping quite well so I am sure this is the best news I can give you. I hope you are keeping well yourself, Charles, Rowland, Maggie and the little girl. [Rowland and Charles were his brothers and "Maggie and little girl", Charles's wife and daughter]. I will be glad when I get a letter of course, they are delayed a lot here, then write as plain as you can as everything is looked at. The Sergts do not work unless they like, so when the parcels arrive, we should not grumble under the circumstances. The Red Cross Society for Prisoners of War keep us supplied, they say here that a parcel from home can only be sent every 3 months but as we hear very little news, anything we do hear you might not believe the quarter of it. Tell Charles I would like some of Masseys tobacco, pipe and pouch with some of Clarks plug. Remember me to all. With love, Willie

 

17 June 1918: Munster in Westfalen, Camp III, Gefangenenlager 3, Germany. Dear Isaac, I have been thinking of sending you a card or a letter since I was captured, but as we are issued with a Post-card every week and a letter like this every other week, it was necessary to let all friends know first. You will see there is not much danger of writing too much especially on a P.C. however the news is not too plentiful so it does not matter. Well I suppose you will all think everything and wonder how I am getting on. First of all I am having the best of health, in a very good Camp I have no cause for to grumble now, so that is a lot to say. Well Isaac how are you all getting along, I have not got any letters or anything since we were captured on 27th March, our first Red-cross parcel will arrive in a day or so I believe, so that means a lot to us, it takes about 5 to 6 weeks for a letter. I want you to write me a nice long letter, you will be able to let me know how you get the 12th over, I hope you will all have a good time if this reaches you before then. No doubt I will be thinking of 225 all the day and hope the next one will be a free one for me. Will you remember me to one and all of the members of 225 and any enquiring friends, let them know I am well. How is Jack send him my address. Yours sincerely, W. Lockhart. [This letter was written to Isaac Reid of Searce, Jerretspass, County Armagh.]

 

I am grateful to William Lockhart's granddaughter, Olive Nelson, for allowing me to reproduce images 1,4,5,6 and 7, and the transcripts, and also to John Adams www.johnadams.org.uk/letters for permission to use Lockart's letter dated 17 June 1918. Image 2 is provided courtesy of the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (Cat. No. D1482/9). Image 3 was provided by Joe Center.