Lance Corporal Francis James Colhoun



Francis James Colhoun (or Colquhoun) was born on 5 April 1896 at Rossbracken, Manorcunningham, County Donegal, the youngest of seven children of farmer Francis James Colhoun and his wife Frances (Fanny) Margretta (nee Ewing).

Colhoun enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Letterkenny on 24 February 1911 (No.590), though aged only 14 at the time (he claimed to be 18).

He embarked for France with A Squadron on 17 August 1914, seeing action in the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne. In September 1914 Colhoun's mother wrote to the military authorities asking for news about him:

Would you kindly give me information as to Frank Colquhoun's whereabouts. I think his number is 590. I have had no word from him since he landed in France & I am most anxious about him, being his mother. Would you kindly give me all possible information at once & oblige.

Colhoun was safe and well, and on 11 October 1914 was one of two North Irish Horsemen awarded a Medaille Militaire by the French government for "meritorious service during the retreat from Belgium" between 21 and 30 August. The medal was presented to him personally by the Commander-in-Chief Field-Marshal French.

On 28 February 1915 Colhoun was admitted to No.10 Stationary Hospital at St Omer, suffering from influenza. It quickly developed into bronchitis and on 11 March he was evacuated from No.14 General Hospital at Boulogne to England.

After recovering from the illness Colhoun resumed service at the North Irish Horse reserve depot at Antrim. He was promoted to lance corporal on 21 October 1915.

On 23 February 1916 Colhoun's period of engagement expired and he elected to accept a discharge from the regiment. His military record was marked as "very good".

Colhoun resumed farming on the family property. He died at Letterkenny Hospital on 8 December 1946 and was buried in the Old Ray Graveyard, Raymoghy, County Donegal.


Lance Corporal Colquhoun's older brother, Andrew Laurance Colhoun, also served in the North Irish Horse.


Image, from Belfast Evening Telegraph, kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster (