Corporal John James Kerr


John James Kerr was born on 20 December 1892 at Tattenaheglish, near Fivemiletown, County Fermanagh, the third of four children of farmer James Kerr and his wife Margaret (nee Ross). His mother died when he was just ten years old. By 1911 he was living at Tattenaheglish with his father and step-mother Sarah (nee Rea) and his younger brother, and working on the family farm.

Kerr enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Fivemiletown on 19 March 1909 (No.333), stating that he was 18 years old (he was in fact 16 years and 3 months). He was promoted to lance corporal on 7 March 1914.

On 31 July 1914, just prior to the outbreak of war, he married Margaret Benson at Paisley, Scotland. Their child John Howard Kerr was born on 9 May the following year at Corralongford.

Kerr embarked for France with C Squadron on 20 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne. He was promoted to corporal on 21 August.

On 5 November 1914 he faced a field general court martial at Bailleul charged with quitting his post without leave while on picquet duty. Found guilty, he was reduced to the ranks and sentenced to one year's imprisonment (later reduced to 90 days' Field Punishment No.1).

Kerr remained with C Squadron in France and Belgium until his term of service ended. He then chose to leave the army. He left France on 30 March 1916 and on 4 April was discharged at Antrim as 'time expired'. His record of service was marked as 'good'.