Private Joseph Ferris


Joseph Ferris was born on 15 June 1894 in 35 Water Street, Newry, the second of seven children of publican Joseph Ferris and his wife Sarah (née Copeland). It appears that the publican business was not a success, as his father later worked as a porter and then a labourer. At the time of the 1911 Census the family was living at 5.1 Glencullen Terrace, East Wall, Dublin. Soon after this Joseph junior, at least, returned to Newry, living in Talbot Street.

Ferris enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 13 and 19 April 1915 (No.1483). He embarked for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917 where he was posted to either C or F (later renamed B) Squadron.

In June 1916 C Squadron combined 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 until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men transferred to the infantry. Ferris 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. Ferris was issued regimental number 41588.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Ferris was wounded in the left forearm during the German offensive in the spring of 1918, either during the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March or in the fighting between Wulverghem and Kemmel in April. On 5 November 1918 he was discharged, being no longer physically fit for war service (paragraph 392 (xvi), King's Regulations). He was awarded a pension due to his wounds.


Private Ferris's name appears on the document Newry's Roll of Honour.