Lance Corporal James Connor


The background of this man is not certain, other than that he was from Strandtown, Belfast.

It is possible that he was the James Connor born on 26 February 1896 at Wateresk, Downpatrick, County Down, the last of eight children of carter (later general labourer) John Connor and his wife Anne (née McBirney). At the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 52 Derwent Street, Belfast, with his parents and three of his six surviving siblings.

Connor enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron between 15 and 19 February 1915 (No. UD/212). On 6 October 1915 he embarked for France with his squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 36th (Ulster) Division.

On 19 December 1915 the squadron war diary recorded that:

The following men are appointed snipers and will train under Capt Hulse – Ptes Armstrong, Connor, Robinson, Williamson, Campbell, Irwin.

In June 1916 the Inniskilling squadron joined with C and F Squadrons of the North Irish Horse to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until August-September 1917 when the regiment was disbanded and most of its men were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Connor was one of 70 men given the job of conducting the regiment's horses to Egypt, to be handed over for use by mounted units there. They embarked from Marseilles on board HMT Bohemian on 25 August. After a month at Alexandria they returned to France, via Italy. On 5 October 1917 they arrived at the 36th (Ulster) Division Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur for infantry training, and after just a few days were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – which had been renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt on 12 October. Connor was issued regimental number 41602.

In November and December 1917 the 9th (NIH) Battalion took part in the Battle of Cambrai. After seeing action in the attempt to capture the village of Moeuvres, on 4 December they were rushed back into the line south of Marcoing to help repel the German counter-attack. The battalion war diary reads as follows:

Arrived in support trenches at 5.30 am the 4th [December].

[4 December] Battn in the trenches south of Marcoing in support of 88th Brigade. Relieved Essex & Hants Batts in front line at 4.30 am.

[5 December] Battn in the line. Capt Flood killed at 9 am by shrapnel.

[6 December] Battn in the line. Two companies in front line one in Support and one in Reserve for use as Battalion counter attack company. Enemy shelling position very heavily. 5 casualties – 4 O.R's

Connor was one of the men wounded at this time. Whether he saw any further service in France is not known at present. On 22 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.


This page last updated 14 June 2023.