Private James Maitland


James Maitland was born (as Robert James) on 28 August 1890 at Lungs, Clogher, County Tyrone, one of at least four children of scutcher David Maitland and his wife Jane (née McCollum). At the time of the 1901 Census he was working as a farm servant at Loughmacrory, County Tyrone. Ten years later he was working as a farm servant at nearby Bracky.

On 23 May 1913 he married Maggie Wilson at the Church of Ireland Parish Church at Drumnakilly, County Tyrone. The couple had three children over the next five years.

Maitland enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 14 March 1913 (No. 807). He embarked for France with C Squadron on 20 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

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.

Maitland was one of 70 men of the regiment given the job of conducting its horses to Egypt. 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. After just a few days they were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt on 12 October. Maitland was issued regimental number 41591. It is likely that he saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917, and probably also during the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918.

Maitland was wounded in the right shoulder, probably in the fighting around Wulverghen and Mt Kemmel on the Ypres front in April 1918. Evacuated to the UK for treatment, he saw no further front-line service. On 21 March 1919 he was discharged, being no longer physically fit for military service due to his wound (paragraph 392 xvi, King's Regulations). He was also granted a pension.