Private Samuel Gribben


Samuel Gribben was born on 3 February 1895 in Fairymount Square, Lisburn, County Antrim, the second of nine children of hairdresser (formerly hackle-maker) Charles Henry Gribben and his wife Catherine (née Greenaway). His father died when he was just eleven years old. The family later moved to 5 Manor Street, Lisburn.

Gribben enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron between 13 and 19 October 1914 (No. UD/37). On 6 October 1915 he embarked for France with his squadron, which was then serving as divisional cavalry to the 36th (Ulster) Division.

In June 1916 the Inniskilling squadron joined with C and F Squadrons of the North Irish Horse to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps. In August-September 1917 the Regiment was disbanded and its men, following training at the 36th (Ulster) Division Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Gribben, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt. Gribben was issued regimental number 41381 and posted to A Company.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Gribben was captured, unwounded, on 27 March 1918 at Erches, near Roye, at the end of the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin during the German spring offensive, when much of the battalion was overwhelmed by the fast-moving German advance. He remained a prisoner until the end of the war, held at Bohain in France, then at camps in Giessen and Münster in Germany. He was repatriated in late December 1918 or early January 1919.

On 25 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

By 1920 Gribben was living at Manor Street, Lisburn, and working as a labourer. On 22 December that year he married Elizabeth McWatters in the Church of Ireland's Christ Church. He died at his home, 68 Antrim Street Lisburn, on 3 January 1932 and was buried in the Lisburn Cemetery.


One of Gribben's brothers also served in the war. William Gribben was killed in action on 16 August 1917 during the Battle of Langemarck, part of Third Ypres, while serving with the 7th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


This page last updated 3 February 2023.