Captain James Arthur Coey


James Arthur Coey was born at Meadowbank, Whitehouse, Belfast, on 18 June 1893, son of Edward Coey, Gentleman and JP for County Antrim, and his wife Mary R.D. Coey (nee Hamilton). He attended Shrewsbury School before working as a weaving factory manager apprentice.

He enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 8 August 1914 (No.962) and embarked for France with C Squadron just two weeks later. In a letter from Lieutenant Samuel Barbour Combe (24 September 1914) the officer commented positively on his qualities:

Greer [&] McNeil the two gentlemen recruits who you saw at the Northern Counties Hotel have proved a great success. They are two of the best men I have got. Also I have a son of Dr Darling in my Troop and a young Coey – all good men.

Coey was commissioned in the field on 21 July 1915, remaining with the North Irish Horse. The Belfast News-Letter of 23 July 1915 noted:

Mr. J. A. Coey, who has been appointed a second-lieutenant on probation in the North Irish Horse, is a son of Mr. Edward Coey, J.P., Merville, Whitehouse. Second-Lieutenant Coey has been at the front with the North Irish Horse since shortly after the commencement of the war. His brother, Second-Lieutenant George H. Coey, 3rd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, who was recently wounded in the right arm and left hand, is making good progress towards recovery. Another brother, Lieutenant E. Coey, is at Seaford with the 15th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (North Belfast Volunteers).

He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant on 16 January 1916.

On 25 September 1916 Coey left the regiment, having been attached to the 10th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. On occasions during 1917 and early 1918 he acted as captain while in command of a company of the battalion.

Coey was Mentioned in Despatches for distinguished and gallant service during the period 25 September 1917 to 24-25 February 1918.

During 1918 (perhaps after the 10th Battalion was disbanded in February) he returned to the North Irish Horse.

He resigned his commission on 16 March 1920.

During the Second World War Coey saw further service as a captain in the North Irish Horse.

He married Laura Lincoln, an American from Boston, the couple later moving to Rhode Island, New York.