Private William McCarley



William McCarley was born on 15 October 1894 at Eglish, Ballymena, County Antrim, second of four children of agricultural labourer William James McCarley and his wife Catherine Jane (nee Murphy). By 1911 he was living with his family at 10 Casement Street, Ballymena, his father working as a carter.

McCarley enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 28 or 29 August 1916 (No.2252). He embarked for France in the first half of 1917 and was posted to either the 1st or 2nd Regiment.

In September 1917 the 2nd Regiment was dismounted and most of its men, plus a small number from the 1st Regiment, were transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – re-named the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion. Like most, McCarley was transferred on 20 September. He was issued a new regimental number – 41329.

In June 1918 McCarley was one of a number of men of the battalion awarded a Military Medal for gallantry during the German spring offensive. On 28 June the Ballymena Observer reported:

Mrs. McCarley, Casement Street, Ballymena, has received a letter from her son Pte. William McCarley, Royal Irish Fusiliers, formerly of the North Irish Horse, stating that he has won the Military Medal for bravery in the field. He is now serving a year with the colours and prior to joining up was employed by Messrs. Morton and Simpson.


Above image from Nick Metcalfe's Blacker's Boys.