Poppy In memoriam Poppy

Private David McCleery Gilpin



David McCleery Gilpin was born on 1 September 1892 at 2 Beechfield Street, Belfast, the last of ten children of master-mariner William Gilpin and his wife Fanny (nee Montgomery). By 1911 he was living with his parents, five siblings, the husband of his recently deceased sister and their four children, at 67 Castlereagh Street, Belfast, in the final year of a five-year apprenticeship with linen business R. McBride & Co.

Gilpin enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 28 May 1915 (No.1634). Soon after, however, he fell ill. Diagnosed as suffering from tuberculosis, he was discharged on 29 September 1915 as being "not likely to become an efficient soldier" (paragraph 392 iii(c) of King's Regulations). His character was recorded as "good".

Gilpin's tuberculosis was initially assessed as pre-dating his military service. However this was overturned on appeal, a minute dated 10 November 1916 stated:

[The disease] originated at Antrim Aug '15. States he was on duty attending diseased horses in open field without shelter. He had a bad wetting & reported sick. He is losing weight, now only 9st 5lb. He has a constant hacking cough with profuse expectoration. TB positive in sputum. ... Breathing shallow & rapid. ... Result of ordinary military service & aggravated thereby. Result of exposure to contagion of TB during ordinary military service."

As a result, Gilpin was granted a military pension. He died at home on 7 May 1917 and was buried in the Carnmoney (Church of the Holy Evangelists) Church of Ireland Churchyard and Extension, grave D.70.


On 1 July 2020 the Commonwealth War Graves Commission accepted a submission by Maureen McKinney (through the In From The Cold Project) that Private Gilpin qualified for commemoration as a casualty of the war. His place of burial is now marked by a CWGC headstone. He is also commemorated on a memorial plaque in St. Patrick's Church, Newtownards Road, Belfast (below).



First image kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster. Second image sourced from the Irish War Memorials site.