Private Nathaniel Harvey



Nathaniel Harvey was born on 3 December 1882 at 26 Shannon Street, Belfast, the fifth or sixth of eight children of hackler Nathaniel Harvey and his wife Jane Anna (nee Thompson). By 1911 he was living at Shannon Street with his widowed mother and two brothers, and working as a shipyard labourer.

Harvey enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 25 August 1914 (No.1032). He embarked for France with D Squadron on 1 May 1915. D Squadron was then serving as Divisional cavalry to the 51st (Highland) Division. In May 1916 it joined with A and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, which served as Corps cavalry to VII then XIX Corps.

On 14 August 1917 while serving at Rouen, France, Harvey faced a Field General Court Martial on a charge of 'absence and breaking out of barracks or camp'. He was sentenced to seven days' Field Punishment No.2.

In September 1917 the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment was disbanded and most of its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion. Harvey, like most, was transferred on 20 September. He was issued a new regimental number – 41362 – and posted to B Squadron. He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Harvey was one of the many of the battalion reported as missing following the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive. He had been captured near Erches on 27 March when much of the battalion was overrun by the advancing German forces.

Harvey remained a prisoner of war through 1918 – held at camps at Giesen, Sagan and Brandenburg. He was released after the Armistice, returning to England in January 1919. On 27 March 1919 he was transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

On 27 March 1919 Harvey married Agnes Kane at the Holy Trinity Church, Belfast.


Image and text from the Belfast Evening Telegraph, May 1918, kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster (