Private Patrick McCloskey


Patrick McCloskey (inset) with his wife and child


This North Irish Horseman appears to be the Patrick (or Thomas Patrick) McCloskey born on 10 March 1900 in the Belfast Maternity Hospital, the second of two children of labourer John McCloskey and his wife Roseann (or Rosina) (née Rooney). At the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 8 Currie Street with his grandmother, mother, brother, three aunts and an uncle.

On 4 February 1916 at Belfast McCloskey enlisted in the Royal Irish Fusiliers (No.23921). He gave his age as 18 years 11 months (three years older than his true age), and his occupation as general labourer. The truth about his age was soon discovered, however, and on 10 March 1916 he was discharged (paragraph 392(vi), King's Regulations).

The following year, between 29 January and 12 April, McCloskey enlisted again, in the North Irish Horse (regimental number 2360-62, 2364 or 2365 – later Corps of Hussars No.71774), although he was still under age.

On 30 June 1917 he married Ellen Brown in St Peter's Roman Catholic Church, Belfast. Their first child, Edward, was born later that year.

McCloskey trained at the regimental reserve camp at Antrim until January 1918, when he embarked for Egypt with a draft of around fifty North Irish Horsemen from the Antrim camp. There he was attached to the 1/1st Nottinghamshire Yeomanry (Sherwood Rangers), serving with that regiment in the Palestine campaign.

On 3 May 1919 the sporting newspaper Ireland's Saturday Night carried a letter as follows:

Sir – Would any kind reader oblige a few North of Ireland boys with a couple of mouth organs to pass away the weary evenings with a bit of enjoyment, as we cannot get them where we are now in Servia. We are constant readers of the dear old Pink. Wishing the Blues and Glens every success – Yours sincerely, R. Morton (Larne), J. Finlay (Belfast), E. Deane (Belfast), W. Johnston (Portadown), H. Cupples (Ballymena), P. McCloskey (Belfast), W. Archibald (Donegal), North Irish Horse (attached 4th Troop, A Squadron, Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry), B.E.F.

McCloskey was still serving as late as January 1920. Following his discharge he returned to Belfast, living for many years at 90 Raglan Street and working as a labourer.


Image kindly provided by Hannah McQuillan, McCloskey's great grand-daughter.


This page last updated 28 December 2023.