Private Marshall Fitzgerald


Marshall Fitzgerald was born on 17 September 1891 at Clonavilla House, Clones, County Monaghan, the seventh of eight children of farmer William Marshall Fitzgerald and his Manchester-born wife Margaret (née Montgomery). His father died when he was just five years old. At the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Clonavilla with his mother and five of his siblings, and working as a solicitor's junior clerk. It appears that he also played football - the Portadown News of 21 December 1912 noting that: "The transfer of Marshall Fitzgerald from Monaghan to Clones Celtic was granted."

Fitzgerald enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron between 13 and 19 October 1914 (No. UD/35). On 3 October 1915 he embarked for France with his squadron, which was then serving as divisional cavalry to the 36th (Ulster) Division.

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. Fitzgerald 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. Fitzgerald was issued regimental number 41603.

No information has been discovered about his service with the 9th (NIH) Battalion through the latter part of 1917 and during 1918, but he probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

On 23 March 1919 Fitzgerald was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. He returned to farming at Clonavilla, and died in the New Hospital, Monaghan, on 1 August 1959.


At least one of Fitzgerald's brothers also served in the war. James Gerald Edward Fitzgerald, who had earlier served in the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry and perhaps the North Irish Horse, rose to the rank of Major and was awarded a Military Cross while serving with the Royal Irish Fusiliers and Machine Gun Corps. Another brother, John, was reported: "amongst the missing from a liner which has been lost at sea through enemy action." (Northern Whig, 10 October 1918.)


This page last updated 7 January 2023.