Major James Gerald Edward Fitzgerald, MC


James Gerald Edward Fitzgerald was born on 12 May 1883 at Clonavilla, Clones, County Monaghan, the fourth of eight children of farmer William Marshall Fitzgerald and his wife Margaret (nee Montgomery). His father died when he was just 12 years old.

It is believed that Fitzgerald served in the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry at some point between 1903 and 1908, and perhaps also its successor, the North Irish Horse, after 1908.

Before the war he worked as a solicitor's clerk with the firm of John Gillespie of Monaghan.

A member of the Armagh Regiment, Ulster Volunteer Force, Fitzgerald joined the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, on its formation. He was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant on 15 September 1914 and a lieutenant on 1 December.

Fitzgerald embarked for France with the 36th (Ulster) Division on 5 October 1915 as a platoon commander and machine-gun officer. He transferred to the Machine Gun Corps of 26 January 1916, serving in the 108 Brigade Machine Gun Company. He was promoted to captain on 2 July 1916 and major on 1 January 1917. He was awarded a Military Cross in the 1917 New Year's Honours List.

Fitzgerald subsequently served at the Command Depot and as an instructor in England in 1917 and 1918, before returning to France. In 1919 he was deployed to Russia with the Machine Gun Corps as part of the international mission assisting the White Russians.

He relinquished his commission on 8 July 1920.

Fitzgerald died on 10 February 1951 at Belgium Park, Monaghan.


Belfast Weekly Telegraph, 6 January 1917


At least one of Fitzgerald's brothers also served in the war - Marshall Fitzgerald, in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron and and Royal Irish Fusiliers. Another brother, John, was reported: "amongst the missing from a liner which has been lost at sea through enemy action." (Northern Whig, 10 October 1918.)


Some of the above information, including Fitzgerald's pre-war link to the North Irish Horse, sourced from Nick Metcalfe's Blacker's Boys.


This page last updated 7 January 2023.