Private Samuel Alexander Mason


Samuel Alexander Mason was born on 25 December 1893 at Tullyhoe, Tamlaght-Finlagan, County Londonderry, the fifth or sixth of seven or eight children of English-born butler Edwin William Mason and his wife Margaret Jessie (née McIntosh). Between 1901 and 1907 the family moved to Belfast, living at 7 Charleville Avenue. At the time of the 1911 Census Samuel was living there with his mother and four of his siblings, and working as an apprentice in the linen business. His father was at Ballycultra, Holywood, County Down, where he worked as butler to John Baptist Crozier the Archbishop of Armagh.

Mason enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron between 26 October and 9 November 1914 (No. UD/104). 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 until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men were transferred to the infantry.

Mason was probably one of 70 men given the job of conducting the regiment's horses to Egypt. They embarked from Marseilles on board HMT Bohemian on 25 August. After a month at Alexandria they returned to France, via Italy. On 5 October 1917 they arrived at the 36th (Ulster) Division Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur for infantry training. After just a few days they were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt on 12 October. Mason was issued regimental number 41635.

It is probable that he saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Mason was wounded around mid-August 1918 when the 9th (NIH) Battalion was in the line on the Ypres front.

On 20 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. He was awarded a pension due the the wound, his level of disability assessed at 20 per cent on July 1920.

After the war Mason returned to 7 Charleville Avenue and worked as a tea blender. On 16 February 1921 he married Agnes Elizabeth Payne in St Thomas's Church of Ireland Parish Church in Belfast. He later worked as a motorman, living at 65 Vernon Street Belfast. He died in the City Hospital on 27 November 1963 and was buried in the City Cemetery, Glenalina Extension.


At least one of Mason's brothers also served during the war. Robert George Mason enlisted in the Royal Air Force on 8 October 1918.


This page last updated 1 March 2023.