Private John Alexander (Jack) Henry


John Alexander Henry was born on 8 April 1896 in Dublin Street, Carlow, the second of five children of ironmonger and seed merchant David Henry and his wife Lydia Margaret (née Lawson). The family had recently moved there from Tullyroan, County Armagh. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 12 Burren Street, Carlow, with his parents, siblings, an uncle and an aunt. He later lived at 72 Cromwell Road, Belfast.

Henry enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 3 March 1915 (No.1461). On 17 November 1915 he embarked for France with F Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 33rd Division.

In June 1916 F Squadron combined with C Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until August-September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men transferred to the infantry. Henry 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. Henry was issued regimental number 41575 and posted to D Company.

Henry was wounded during the Battle of Cambrai, either in the fighting for the village of Moeuvres on 22-23 November 1917, or south of Marcoing from 4 December. The injury must not have been severe, for he rejoined the battalion soon after.

Following the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive, Henry was one of the many listed as missing. It was later found that he had been wounded again.

Henry rejoined the 9th (NIH) Battalion later that year and took part in the Advance to Victory offensive from August 1918. He was again wounded, possibly on 4 September in the attack near Wulverghem. He took no further part in the fighting, and on 4 March 1919 was discharged, being 'no longer physically fit for war service' (paragraph 392(xvi), King's Regulations). He was granted a pension due to his wounds – to his left wrist and chest wall.