Saddler Corporal John Park Russell


John Park Russell was born on 27 June 1889 at St Johnston, County Donegal, the fourth of eleven children of saddler and harness-maker Robert Russell and his wife Jane (née Park). Around 1896 the family moved to Londonderry. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 11 Bishop Street with his parents, six of his siblings and a sister-in-law, and working as a harness-maker.

Russell enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 20 August 1914 (No.1014 – later Corps of Hussars No.71200). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France on 17 November 1915 with F Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 33rd Division. In June 1916 F Squadron combined with C Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps.

On 28 July 1917 while serving at General Headquarters, Russell faced a Field General Court Martial on a charge of being drunk while on active service. He was found not guilty.

Two months later the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men were transferred to the infantry. It appears that by then, however, Russell had left the regiment, presumably posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st NIH Regiment, which for the time remained as a mounted unit.

In February-March 1918, however, the 1st NIH Regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit. This meant a 25 per cent reduction in its numbers, and it is probable that this was the time that Russell was posted to the 8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars. He remained with the Hussars until the end of the war. On 2 April 1919 he was was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

Soon after the war Russell was living at 5 Cavendish Street, Glasgow. He applied for a pension, claiming an injury to his side, but this was rejected.


Two of Russell's brothers, Robert and William, also served in the war – Robert in the Army Service Corps, and William in the Royal Navy.