Private Gilbert Jack


Gilbert Jack was born on 3 August 1893 at 14 Gordon Terrace, Londonderry, one of twelve children of stonemason Matthew Jack and his wife Margaret (née Downing). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living in Northland Avenue, Londonderry with his parents and eight surviving siblings and working as a shirt-cutter in the factory of McIntyre, Hogg, Marsh & Co.

Jack enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 5 September 1914 (No.1152). He embarked for France on 28 April 1915 with a small reinforcement draft for A and C Squadrons – it is probable that he was posted to the latter.

In June 1916 C Squadron combined with F Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men transferred to the infantry. Jack 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. Jack was issued regimental number 41600.

Jack probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Following the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918, Jack was one of the many reported as missing. It was later learned that he had been wounded, in the lower right leg. It is probable that the wound was severe enough to keep him out of front-line service for the remainder of the war, and on 1 March 1919 he was discharged, being 'no longer physicaly fit for war service' (paragraph 392 (xvi), King's Regulations). He was granted a pension due to his wounds.

After his discharge Jack returned to Londonderry and resumed work as a shirt-cutter. On 4 September 1923 he married Margaret Sarah Crockett. He died on 20 June 1953 and was buried in the City Cemetery, Londonderry.


During the war Jack's mother faced court regarding the amount of separation allowance she claimed as his dependant (see below).


Belfast News-Letter, 21 September 1915