Private Samuel William Montgomery


Samuel William Montgomery was born on 2 December 1895 in George Street, Ballymena, County Antrim, the eighth of ten children of labourer (later despatch clerk and grocer) John Montgomery and his wife Catherine (or Kathleen) (née Penny). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 10 Greenmount Terrace, Ballymena, with his parents, four of his eight surviving siblings, and a great aunt, and working as a clerk in the office of solicitors J.K. Currie and Son.

Montgomery enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 8 November 1915 (No.1815). On 29 June 1916 he embarked for France, where he was posted to A Squadron, one of the three squadrons of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment. On 1 November that year he was detached and posted to No.4 German Prisoner of War Camp, returning to his regiment at some point in the first half of 1917.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Montgomery, 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 five days later. Montgomery was issued regimental number 41410 and posted to A Company.

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

Montgomery was wounded by a machine-gun bullet in the chest on the St Quentin front on 21 March 1918 on the first day of the German spring offensive. He was admitted to the 3rd General Hospital at Le Treport before being evacuated to the UK on 27 March. Fortunately the wound was not severe, and he was able to rejoin his battalion in the field later that year.

Montgomery was wounded by shrapnel in the left shoulder on 11 October 1918 during the fighting for Hill 41 near Dadizeele in Belgium. The battalion war diary for the day states:

At dawn a party of thirty Other Ranks under 2nd Lieutenant Darling MC formed up in Twig Farm. ... At 10.00 under cover of a barrage and smoke screen, they rushed Goldflake Farm, capturing fourteen prisoners, three machine-guns, and killing about ten of the enemy. A position about 100 yards south-west of the farm was consolidated. The hostile barrage was extremely heavy ... Our casualties were one killed and two wounded. At about 17.50 the enemy counter-attacked heavily on Goldflake, Mansard and Twig Farms. The garrison in Goldflake Farm withdrew after inflicting very heavy casualties on the enemy, who were caught in fours on the road. The garrison of Mansard Farm was surrounded and fought their way back. The enemy succeeded in reaching Twig Farm but was held up by a small party which still held out in front of the farm. The enemy was finally cleared from Twig Farm by a counter attack. Mansard and Goldflake Farms remained in his hands. ... Our casualties during the day were two Officers and 25 Other Ranks.

Evacuated to the UK, Montgomery was treated in the General Military Hospital at Colchester, at Budworth Hall Chipping Ongar, and Woodford and Wanstead Military Hospital, before being released to duty on 6 February 1919.

On 8 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.