Private James Wilson



James Wilson was born on 10 September 1898 (originally named William Ephraim Wilson) at Dunadry, Nilteen Grange, County Antrim, the first of six children of farmer Samuel Wilson and his wife Elizabeth (nee Reid). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Dunadry with his parents, grandfather and five siblings.

Wilson enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 12 May 1915 (No.1527 – later Corps of Hussars No.71421). He stated his age as 19 years 120 days, almost three years older than his actual age. He embarked for France with E Squadron on 11 January 1916.

In May 1916 E Squadron joined with A and D Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps until February-March 1918, when the regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist regiment. They then served as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

On 4 March 1917 Wilson faced a field general court martial, charged with leaving his post without orders from his superior officer whilst on active service (on 15 February). Found guilty, he was awarded 56 days' Field Punishment No.1 (14 days of the sentence was remitted).

Wilson remained with the regiment throughout the war. On 30 August 1918, during the Advance to Victory offensive, he was gassed. He recovered quickly, and on 18 November 1918 was allowed home on a fortnight's leave. On 25 February 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war Wilson emigrated to Canada.




Images kindly provided by Pat Gore.