William Maurice Armstrong was born on 20 August 1889 in Sligo as Marcus and Rosalie’s eldest child and only son. Like so many sons of well-to do parents, he was sent to England for his education. He began at Stoke House preparatory school in 1903, from where he was sent to Eton College. Originally known as Maurice, he was given the nickname Pat at Eton.
The name stuck, so much so that by 1910 the only person insisting on calling him Maurice was his father! Pat wanted to follow family tradition and entered Royal Military College Sandhurst to seek a career in the army. Having graduated in 1910, he joined the 10th (Prince of Wales’s Own Royal) Hussars and served with that regiment in India and South Africa. In 1914, he decided to seek additional training as a cavalry officer and travelled from Potchefstroom, South Africa, to the Cavalry School at Netheravon, Somerset. He was there when the war broke out. As befitted a cavalry officer, Pat was passionate about horses and loved hunting, horse racing and polo. He was deeply attached to his family and had a special bond with his mother.