Private Samuel Matchett


Samuel Matchett was born on 24 December 1891 at Ballymagin, Moira, County Down, the second of seven children of carter (also labourer and ploughman) Samuel Matchett and his wife Margaret (née Graham). At the time of the 1901 Census he was living at nearby Magheralin with his parents, and three siblings. I have not been able to locate him at the time of the 1911 Census.

Matchett enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 28 March 1912 (No.694 – later Corps of Hussars No.71074). He was described as being 5' 5" tall with a fresh complexion, auburn hair and grey eyes. He gave his occupation as a farmer.

He embarked for France on 17 August 1914 with A Squadron, seeing action on the Retreat from Mons and Advance to the Aisne.

A Squadron served as escort and bodyguard to the BEF's commander-in-chief at St Omer from October 1914 until January 1916, when it was posted as divisional cavalry to the 55th Division. In May 1916 it joined with D and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps until February-March 1918, when the regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit. It then served as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

Matchett was wounded in the head on 24 March 1918 during the German Spring Offensive. The regimental war diary for that day states:

Morlancourt. At 11.45 pm Regiment retired to Toutencourt. No H/71689 LCpl McNabb S C, H/71593 LCpl Cassidy E, H/71074 Pte Matchett G Wounded

Evacuated to the UK, he eventually returned to duty at the North Irish Horse reserve base at Antrim. He was reported as having deserted from Antrim on 2 September 1918. He must have returned to duty in the following months, for on 25 February 1919 he was discharged, being 'surplus to military requirements, having suffered impairment since entry into the service' (paragraph 392(xvi)(a), King's Regulations). He was granted a pension as a result of his wound, his level of disability assessed at less than 20 per cent in February 1920.

Records show that Matchett's post-war addresses included Maralin, Lurgan, County Down; and 7 Albert Street, Possil Road, Garscube Cross, Glasgow.


This page last updated 29 December 2023.