Private Frederick Nesbitt


The identity of this North Irish Horseman is not known for certain, but it seems likely he was the Frederick Nesbitt born on 17 October 1869 at Tievenamara, south of Keady, County Armagh, one of at least five children of farmer James Nesbitt and his wife Sarah (nee Ross). He grew up at Tievenamara and on 6 September 1900 married farmer's daughter Mary Ann McClure from Castleblayney. The couple lived at Tievenamara with Frederick's widowed mother, and had six children over the next fourteen years.

Nesbitt enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 3 and 5 September 1914 (No.1109 – later Corps of Hussars No.71236). If he was the man from Tievenamara, he must have understated his age by at least twelve years in order to be accepted by the recruiters. On 18 December 1914 he embarked for France, one of a draft of twenty reinforcements for A and C Squadrons – the first such group sent to France. Nesbitt was posted to C Squadron.

On 10 August 1916 he faced a Field General Court Martial charged with being drunk while on active service. He was sentenced to 56 days' Field Punishment No.1.

Nesbitt remained with C Squadron until the end of 1916 when, it seems, he was posted to A, D or E Squadron of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment. In late May the following year, however, his skull was fractured in an accident. He was evacuated to England and admitted to Carrington Hospital in Nottingham.

Whether Nesbitt saw any more service overseas is not known at present. In April 1918 he was transferred to the Royal Army Medical Corps (No.140168).

On 12 June 1919 he was transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war, Nesbitt returned to farming. It is likely he was the Frederick Nesbitt, farmer, who died at Drumsallen, County Armagh, on 1 May 1937, aged 67.