Warrant Officer John Colhoun Whiteside, SRLSGCM



John Colhoun Whiteside was born on 6 July 1881 at 20 Workhouse Row, Londonderry, son of labourer Alexander Whiteside and his wife Mary (nee Colhoun).

On the outbreak of the Boer War Whiteside volunteered for service, joining the 60th (North Irish Horse) Company, 17th Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry (No.11028). According to The Belfast News-Letter (27 April 1914):

[Whiteside] was one of the first volunteers to leave Ireland for South Africa at the time of the Boer war, and for eighteen months he served under Captain Leo Moore, of Belfast. He was then invalided home, and after two months he re-enlisted and went back to South Africa, where he remained till the end of the war. He took part in numerous engagements, including the operations leading up to the relief of Mafeking.

On his return to Ireland he went into business as a car proprietor. He married car-driver's daughter Matilda Aiken at Londonderry Cathedral on Christmas Day 1902. Their child Mary Ann was born five years later.

Whiteside joined the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry and transferred to its successor the North Irish Horse when it was established on 6 July 1908. Being the eighth to join, he was assigned No.8 on the new regiment's roll (although one record shows his number as 3).

By 1914 he had risen to the rank of squadron sergeant-major. He was also a section leader of the Londonderry mounted troop of the UVF. That April he was one of four men of the regiment awarded a Special Reserve Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, the commanding officer Colonel Maude praising him as "a credit to the regiment".

On 17 August 1914 Whiteside embarked for France with A Squadron, seeing action in the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne. The Belfast News-Letter of 16 June 1915, in noting his promotion to the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2, reported that:

... he was invalided home towards the end of last year, but after a brief furlough he rejoined his regiment at the Front. Some weeks ago he returned to Antrim, where he is now stationed with the North Irish Horse.

Whiteside was discharged as 'surplus to military requirements, having suffered impairment since entry into the service' (para 392 xvi(a) King's Regulations), on 1 May 1919.


Larne Times, 2 May 1914


The first image shows Whiteside in 1912. The full picture can be seen here.