Private William Anderson


The background of this North Irish Horseman is not known at present, other than that he was from the Cookstown area.

William Anderson enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 8 and 14 April 1913 (No.834). he embarked for France with A Squadron on 17 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

He was mentioned in a report in the Mid-Ulster Mail on 28 November 1914:

Driver W. J. Arbuthnott, of the North Irish Horse, son of Mr. W. J. Arbuthnott, Drumbonaway, writing to a friend says:--"... I have come through a few battles safely. All the rest of the boys are well and doing good work at the front, especially the Cookstown chaps. We are very well looked after with food and clothes, and we never want for anything, and not one of the Cookstown party of the North Irish Horse has got a wound, though all have shown up bravely at the post of duty. Sergeant Ashcroft, John Maxwell, Samuel Espey, Willie Crooks, Willie Anderson, George Henry, and Albert James McKenna, are the Cookstown fellows in the same troop as me.

... and on 2 October 1915:

Trooper W. Cunningham, North Irish Horse, whose home is in Drapersfield, arrived home on the 16th for a short leave, and left again on the 20th. he went out to France with the first contingent, and saw a good deal of fighting in the earlier stages of the war. During recent months he has been on Sir John French's bodyguard. He was looking very fit and in good heart, after over a year on active service. His immediate chums in France are Troopers Wesley McClelland, Hiram Irwin, John Marks, Joseph MacKenzie, Wm. Anderson, and A. J. McKenna, and these were all well when he left.

In mid-1916 A Squadron joined with D and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII then XIX Corps. C Squadron joined with F Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps.

In September 1917 the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment was disbanded and most of its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion. Anderson, like most, was transferred on 20 September. He was issued a new regimental number – 41563. He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

In the first half of 1918 Anderson was assessed as being no longer physically fit for front-line service, probably as a result of rheumatism. In May or early June he was transferred to the Labour Corps (No.516690).

Anderson was discharged on 22 February 1919. He was granted a pension from the following day, due to 10 per cent disablement caused by the rheumatism.

Records show that after the war he lived in Belfast at 93 Rathmore Street and 28 Maymount Street.