Sergeant John James Wilson


John James Wilson was born on 19 May 1892 at Drumagoland, Virginia, County Cavan, the first of eight children of farmer Samuel Wilson and his wife Margaret (formerly Mahood). Wilson grew up on the family farm.

On 9 November 1911 he joined the Royal Irish Constabulary (No.66244), serving in Donegal.

On 1 May 1916 Wilson enlisted in the North Irish Horse. (One record has his regimental number as 2291, but that does not match the enlistment date. It is possible that in fact he enlisted between 10 and 17 October 1916.)

In November 1916 Wilson, together with around 100 other North Irish Horsemen, volunteered to transfer to the Royal Irish Rifles. He was issued regimental number 40928. They embarked for France on 7 December, where they joined the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, on the Somme front.

On 16 August 1917 Wilson's battalion took part in the Battle of Langemarck, part of Third Ypres. The battalion war diary for the day listed 27 other ranks killed, 7 wounded and missing, 170 wounded, and 63 missing. Wilson was among the wounded.

He recovered sufficiently to rejoin the 1st Battalion, and in November 1918 he was one of sixteen men of the regiment awarded a Military Medal for gallantry during the Advance to Victory offensive in the preceding months.

During 1919 Wilson was demobilised from the Army and on 23 October, readmitted to the Royal Irish Constabulary. He was again posted to Donegal and was promoted to sergeant on 1 February 1921. He remained with the RIC until the force was disbanded in 1922.