Corporal Frederick David William Ferguson, MSM



Frederick David William Ferguson was born at Sandhill, near Derrygonnelly, County Fermanagh, on 22 November 1894, the eldest of thirteen children of farmer James Ferguson and his wife Mary Elizabeth (nee McBrien). At the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Sandhill with his parents and his ten siblings.

Ferguson enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 12 and 16 December 1912 (No.768 – later Corps of Hussars No.71099).

He embarked for France with A Squadron on 17 August 1914, seeing action in the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne. The squadron then served as escort and bodyguard to the BEF's commander-in-chief at St Omer from October 1914 until January 1916, when it was posted as divisional cavalry to the 55th Division. In May 1916 A Squadron came together with D and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps until February-March 1918, when the regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

According to family recollection, Ferguson served as batman to Lord Cole, who commanded A Squadron from August 1914 and the 1st NIH Regiment from May 1916 until February 1918. In June 1918 he (Ferguson) was one of two North Irish Horsemen awarded a Meritorious Service Medal "in recognition of valuable services rendered with the forces in France".

In 1918 he applied for a Commission and was sent for training at No.23 Officer Cadet Battalion, Catterick. However it appear he was unsuccessful, for he later returned to the regiment.

Ferguson was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 14 March 1919.

After the war he returned to Derrygonnelly, working as a commercial traveller, until June 1924, when he emigrated to the United States. Some years later he returned to the UK, living with his wife Irene in Liverpool and thence returned to Derrygonnelly, where he worked in various business ventures, including as a publican, while living on the family farm until his death on 29 September 1972. He is buried in the family plot at Inishmacsaint Parish Church in Derrygonnelly.


One of Ferguson's brothers, Henry Edward (Harry, born 1897), also served in the First World War, in the 11th (Service) Battalion (Donegal and Fermanagh), Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (No.14061). He was wounded early on the morning of the Thiepval offensive, Somme, on 1 July 1916, and after extensive convalescence transferred to the Army Service Corps (No. M/380450). He subsequently returned to Fermanagh, where he died on 25 February 1942. Three younger brothers, Mervyn, John and Reginald saw service in the Second World War. Major G.R. Ferguson (Royal Engineers) was reported missing in August 1942 in the Burma Campaign.


Image and much of the family information above kindly provided by David Kernohan.