Poppy In memoriam Poppy

Private Millar McGuigan



Millar McGuigan was born on 15 June 1897 at Ballyclare, Doagh Grange, County Antrim, the last of ten children of mechanic Samuel McGuigan and his wife Susan (nee Kerr). His mother died just a year later. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living with his aunt, cousin and four siblings at 18 Main Street, Ballyclare, and working as a bread server's assistant. His father died at the Union Infirmary, Antrim, three years later.

McGuigan enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 8 November 1915 (No.1809 – later Corps of Hussars 71571). Between 1916 and 1918 he embarked for France, where he was posted to one of the three squadrons of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment.

On 2 March 1919 McGuigan was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. By then, however, he had contracted pulmonary tuberculosis. A medical board concluded that the disease was attributable to his military service, and he was granted a pension from 3 September 1919. McGuigan died at Ballygallagh, County Antrim, on 29 September and was buried in the Ballyclare New Cemetery, Grave C.32.

At the time McGuigan was not officially identified as a casualty of the war, although his name appears on the Ballyclare War Memorial. A submission made to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission through the In From the Cold Project, seeking a correction to this oversight, was accepted on 3 February 2021.


Ballyclare War Memorial


One of Private McGuigan's brothers, Samuel, also served in the war. After emigrating to Canada in 1912, four years later he enlisted in the Canadian Army, serving in France in the 14th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. On 10 August 1918 he was wounded in his right thigh. He died at Graylingwell War Hospital, Chichester, three weeks later, and was buried in the Ballyclare New Cemetery.

The deaths of Millar and Samuel were only part of a larger tragedy for the McGuigan family. Apart from the early loss of Millar's parents, of his six brothers, three - Henry, John and Henry - died in infancy; another, William Arthur, died at Ballyclare in May 1917; and James died at Antrim in November 1927.


Samuel McGuigan's gravesite in Ballyclare New Cemetery


Ballymena Weekly Telegraph, 23 November 1912


First image, by Mark Farley, kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, researcher at History Hub Ulster. Samuel McGuigan headstone image sourced from the Find-a-grave website.