Poppy In memoriam Poppy

Private William Kennedy



William Kennedy was born on 1 March 1896 at Waringstown, Lurgan, County Down, son of Elizabeth Kennedy. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Waringstown with his mother, step-father Archibald McCollum and five half-brothers and sisters, and working as a damask weaver.

Kennedy enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 12 and 20 February 1914 (No.902). He embarked for France with A Squadron on 17 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

In May and June 1916 A, D and E Squadrons of the North Irish Horse combined to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, and C and F Squadrons joined the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, each serving as corps cavalry units. In September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the infantry. Kennedy was one the men transferred, and like most, joined the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – on 20 September. He was issued regimental number 41442 and posted to C Company.

It is likely that he saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Kennedy was one of the many posted as missing following the battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin to near Amiens from 21 to 28 March 1918. It was later learned that he had been captured, unwounded, on 27 March at Erches, near Roye. He remained a prisoner until the end of the war, held at camps in Bohain, Giessen and Münster. He was repatriated on 4 December 1918.

On 22 February 1919 Kennedy re-enlisted, joining the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers (No.7042139). He served with the battalion in Mesopotamia and Egypt from 1919 to 1921.

In Egypt, however, Kennedy fell ill with valvular heart disease. He died on 30 August 1921 in the Citadel Military Hospital, Cairo and was buried in the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, grave number P.134. The gravestone inscription reads:

7042139 PRIVATE
30TH AUGUST 1921


Image kindly provided by Steve Rogers of the War Graves Photographic Project.