Lance Corporal Francis Jennings


Francis Jennings was born on 8 April 1878 at Terminnan, Downpatrick, County Down, youngest of seven children of farmer Francis Jennings and his wife Margaret (née Curlett). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Ballywarren, Downpatrick, with his parents and two of his siblings and working on the family farm. On 5 May 1915 he married Emma Montgomery at the Hollymount Church of Ireland Church, County Down.

Jennings enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 15 November 1915 (No.1879). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Jennings, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. Jennings was issued regimental number 41338.

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

No information has been located about Jennings's service with the 9th (NIH) Battalion through the latter part of 1917 and during 1918. In 1919, however, he was awarded a Military Medal.


Note: Surviving records show another man (Robert Sayers) with the same regimental number - 1879. It has not been possible to determine which is correct and which is not.