Corporal William Stevenson



William Stevenson was born on 7 July 1884 at Crankill, Ahoghill, County Antrim, one of nine children of farmer Wilson Stevenson and his wife Sarah Jane (nee Young). He served an apprenticeship with hardware merchant Robert Cameron at Wellington Street, Ballymena, before joining the firm of Nixon & Shaw at Liverpool.

Stevenson enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 25 and 27 November 1915 (No.1985 – later Corps of Hussars No.71654). The Ballymena Observer of 3 December reported:

Amongst the recruits to the North Irish Horse this week are Messrs. James Anderson, Brocklamount; William Stevenson, Crankill; Harry Welsh, Cullybackey. Mr. James Anderson is the eldest son of Mr. John Anderson, greenkeeper of the Ballymena Bowling Club. He has a younger brother, Jack, at present serving in France with the 12th Batt. R.I.R. Mr William Stevenson is a son of the late Wilson Stevenson, of Crankill. He was formerly employed in Mr. Cameron's, Mill Street, and both he and James Anderson have for some years past occupied good positions in Liverpool, which they gave up at the call of their King and country. Mr. Harry Welsh is a son of the late Carson Welsh, Ballee. He returned from New Zealand some time ago, and resided with his brother-in-law, Dr. Dick, at Cullybackey. He is an enthusiastic member of the Cullybackey Golf Club.

Stevenson trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France in July 1916. There he was posted to E Squadron of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment. He remained with the squadron throughout the war. In March 1918 the 1st Regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist regiment, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps for the remainder of the war.

In the latter part of 1918 Stevenson was one of five men of E Squadron awarded Military Medals for their gallant conduct during September in the Advance to Victory offensive. The commanding officer of the 38th (Welsh) Division had written:

I am deeply grateful for the magnificent assistance rendered to this Division by the squadron of V Corps Cyclists, North Irish Horse, during the past sixteen days. They have been gallant to a degree, unflagging in energy, and although placed under different Brigadiers almost daily, have never failed to supply me with early and accurate information. I desire especially to place on record my appreciation of the manner in which this sqn, on the 4th inst, took forward ammunition to the troops of the 114th Bde through a very heavy HE and gas barrage, across the Canal du Nord. I shall be very happy to forward any recommendations for immediate awards that the Squadron Commander may see fit to submit.

The Ballymena Observer of 11 October reported:

Corporal William Stevenson, North Irish Horse, son of the late Mr. Wilson Stevenson, Crankill, and brother of Mr. James Stevenson, Contractor of Gracehill, has been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in the field during the recent advance. Cpl. Stevenson joined up in November 1915 and was drafted to France in July 1916.

Stevenson was transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 13 February 1919.


Image from the Ballymena Weekly Telegraph of October 1918 kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster (