Major John Grant



John Grant was born on 28 May 1884 at 25 College Gardens, Belfast, the only child of linen merchant (later managing director of a linen weaving factory) Jasper Grant and his wife Grace Louisa Grant (nee Pollock).

On 9 March 1910 he was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the North Irish Horse. He was promoted to lieutenant on 22 April 1913.

Lieutenant Grant embarked for France with C Squadron of the North Irish Horse on 21 August 1914, seeing action on the Retreat from Mons and Advance to the Aisne. On 31 August his troop (No.1 Troop) was attached as escort to II Corps commander Smith-Dorrien, remaining in that role for some months before returning to C Squadron.

On 30 August 1915 he was promoted to captain.

The war diaries of C Squadron and the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment (of which C Squadron was a part from June 1916), contain many references to Captain Grant leading working parties on various assignments, often to the trenches, from 1915 to 1917.

In September 1917 the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment was disbanded and most of its officers and men transferred to the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. Grant reported for duty at the battalion at Ruyaulcourt on 30 September. Presumably he saw acton during the Battle of Cambrai in November and December.

At the beginning of January 1918 he left for home on leave. While getting out of a taxi-cab in Belfast he severely sprained his ankle. He was granted further leave to recover. In April a Medical Board found:

This officer suffered from a severe sprain to his left foot. There is still some slight swelling. Capt Grant was sent to a Fusilier Battalion where of course marching for considerable distances will be required. I would strongly advise his being sent back to his own Regt the North Irish Horse, where he can resume his duties, as he will have riding not marching duties to attend to. Capt Grant dislikes being unemployed.

Grant was transferred back to the North Irish Horse and reported for duty at the reserve regiment at Antrim on 25 April.

By August he had fully recovered from his injury. He was ordered to join the North Irish Horse (which was now a cyclist regiment) in France. He reported for duty on 20 September, finding the regiment playing an active role in reconnaissance and advance work as cyclists for V Corps during the Advance to Victory offensive. Grant was given command of E Squadron.

In January 1919, the regiment was billeted at Vignacourt in France, awaiting orders to return home. When the commanding officer Major Phillips left, Captain Grant was put in command, retaining the post until he too left in May.

Captain Grant was Mentioned in Despatches on 16 March 1919. He was demobilized on 1 November 1919, but remained with the North Irish Horse until he reached the 45 year age limit on 28 May 1929. He then relinquished his commission, and was granted the honorary rank of major.


Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 8 April 1914. "Ulster continues her preparations. A troop of the 1st North Down Mounted Volunteers receiving instructions and training from Lieutenant Grant, of the North Irish Horse."


A complete version of the first image can be found here. Other images of John Grant can be found here and here.