Private William Adamson, MM


William Adamson was born on 22 October 1888 at Drumaness, County Down, one of thirteen children of flax spinning mill manager Thomas Adamson and his wife Jane (nee Greer). By 1911 he was living at Cromwell Road, Belfast, and working in the linen business.

Adamson enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 2 or 3 September 1914 (No.1088). He embarked for France with D Squadron on 1 May 1915.

In May 1916 D Squadron joined with A and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment. In September the following year, when the 2nd Regiment was dismounted and most of its men were absorbed into the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, a number of men surplus to the needs of the 1st Regiment were also sent. It appears that Adamson was one of these, unless prior to this he had been moved to the 2nd Regiment.

Like most of the men, Adamson was transferred to the 9th Battalion on 20 September and issued a new regimental number – 41271.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai, and certainly during the retreat from St Quentin in March 1918 and in the German offensive south of Ypres that April. Soon after he was awarded a Military Medal, a report in the Belfast News-Letter of 25 May stating:

Private William Adamson, Royal Irish Fusiliers, third son of Mr. Thomas Adamson, manager of Drumaness Spinning Mill, has been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry during the St. Quentin retirement. He was wounded on the 19th ult. for the third time, and is at present in St. George's Hospital, Weybridge, Surrey. At the outbreak of the war he was in the linen business in Belfast on his own account, and he joined the North Irish Horse. He has a brother, Corporal McConkey Adamson, serving in the Royal Engineers; one of his sisters is a nurse in a military hospital at Manchester, and another is working at munitions in Belfast.

Adamson was transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 18 March 1919.