Private James Albert Victor Barbour


James Albert Victor Barbour was born on 24 May 1897 at 3 Helen's Terrace, Newry, County Armagh, the seventh of ten children of railway ticket clerk Robert Barbour and his wife Sarah (née Crawford). The family had only recently moved there from Londonderry, and would move again soon after, to Belfast. By the time of the 1911 Census, James was living at 13 Salisbury Street, Belfast, with his parents and six of his seven surviving siblings.

Barbour enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 25 May 1915 (No.1614), a day after his brother Robert Taggart Barbour had joined the regiment. He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot before embarking for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, where he was posted to B or C Squadron of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, which was serving as corps cavalry to X Corps.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Barbour 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. Barbour was issued regimental number 41586.

No information has been located about Barbour's service with the 9th (NIH) Battalion through the latter part of 1917 or during 1918.

After the war Barbour returned to Belfast and worked for the Great Northern Railway. On 29 May 1924 he married Josephine Davenport. By 1959 he was living at 223 Roden Street, Belfast, and working as a railway foreman. He died on 18 October that year, and was buried in the City Cemetery, Glenalina Extension.


Crescent Presbyterian Church Roll of Honour, Belfast


Image courtesy of Nigel Henderson, History Hub Ulster.