Lieutenant Thomas Patrick Dunbar Seymour

 

 

Thomas Seymour was born on 4 October 1865 at Ballymore Castle, Laurencetown, Co. Galway, son of gentleman Walter Seymour Esq and his wife Belinda Jane (nee Gordon).

Educated at Foyle College and Trinity College, he served in Methuen’s Horse in the Bechuanaland Expedition (1884-85), in the 2nd Matabele Rising (1896-97), and as a sergeant in the Leicestershire Imperial Yeomanry in the Boer War (1900-01).

On 5 November 1914 he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the newly-formed 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron. He was 49 years old at the time. In October 1915 Seymour went to France with the squadron, which was then serving as divisional cavalry to the 36th (Ulster) Division.

In June 1916 the squadron became part of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment. The regimental diary entry for 5 July 1916 describes how a party under Lieutenant Seymour came under heavy artillery fire in during the Battle of the Somme:

Orders were received from A.P.M. 36th Division at 9 am for the two troops dismounted to report to Capt O'Neill at Lancashire Dump for salvage duty. They carried out this duty bringing in equipment, rifles etc till 1 pm. The men had dinner and were just turning out again when Lieut Seymour received orders from 36th Division to return to Regtl Head Quarters. The men had just started to saddle up when a heavy bombardment of both high explosive, shrapnel & machine guns was concentrated on the Wood. The intensity of the fire necessitated Lt Seymour giving orders for the men to take shelter in some old dugouts & trenches close by. The bombardment lasted for 3/4 of an hour & then slackened but did not entirely stop. Up to now one horse was killed & four wounded. The men were then ordered to saddle up & lead their horses thro' Wood out on to the road and were waiting for the others to join up when the bombardment opened much heavier than previously especially on that part of the road where the men were waiting. Lt Seymour moved off up the road leaving 2/Lt Matthews & Sergt McIlvoy to round up the stragglers in the wood, as by this time horses were very restive and almost unmanagable. Lt Seymour with his party had reached about 1 mile along the road & turned down a lane leaving the horses in charge of Sergt Quinn. Almost immediately a heavy fire was brought to bear on the horses and Sergt Quinn was wounded. The horses stampeded in every direction, some back to Aveluy Wood. Eventually Lt Seymour was able to round up most of this party & got to Senlis. Lieut Matthews & Sergt McIlroy remained behind. Our losses numbered 16 horses killed or wounded and 2 missing. 2/Lt Matthews was wounded severely in the knee from high explosive and Pte Downes, Nicholl, Gourley wounded (hosp) and Ptes Buchanan, 195 Campbell, Totton, 105 Craig, Cpl Dickson, 209 Robinson slightly wounded (duty).

In September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was dismounted and absorbed into the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers. Seymour was posted to the battalion but did not join it, having faced a medical board at Le Havre. The board found:

he is 51 years of age but with good physique and with the exception of a little emphysema presents no sign of disease. He has already done two winters at the front and is extremely desirous of returning there. At his own earnest request the Board is prepared to consider him fit for general service.

Seymour was transferred to the Royal Army Service Corps, joining the 36th Divisional Train in France in February 1918. In May he was posted for service in England, where he remained for the rest of the year.

He relinquished his commission on 29 January 1919.

After the war Seymour returned to his family home at Ballymore Castle, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway. He died there in 1946.

 

This image, part of a group photo of officers and NCOs of the squadron, appeared in the Belfast Evening Telegraph of 28 January 1915. The full image can be seen here.