Private Samuel James Mulvenna


Samuel James Mulvenna was born on 4 May 1890 at Craigywarren, Ballymena, County Antrim, the fifth of eight children of shopkeeper John Aicken Mulvenna and his wife Rachael (nee McKaig). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living with his widowed mother and six siblings at Craigywarren and working as an iron-ore miner.

In 1913 Samuel emigrated to Canada with his mother and his brothers Robert, Hugh and Andrew, joining another brother, John, in Toronto. His oldest brother, William Alexander, had gone to America some years earlier. Both his sisters, Margaret and Elizabeth, had married in Ballymena on 27 July 1911.

Samuel Mulvenna returned to Ireland after the outbreak of war, probably in 1915. On 25 November that year he enlisted in the North Irish Horse (No.1973). On 4 December the Ballymena Weekly Telegraph reported that:

A young man named Samuel Mulvenna was admitted to the Waveney Hospital, Ballymena, on Wednesday evening suffering from gunshot wounds in one of his feet, accidentally sustained whilst out shooting that day in company with a companion. It appears that Mulvenna was carrying the gun, barrel downwards, when it suddenly went off, and he was shot in the foot. He was skilfully attended by Dr. McCay, J.P., Clough, who had him conveyed in his own motor car to the Waveney Hospital, Ballymena, where he was detained for treatment, and later on the same night an operation was performed by Doctors Davison and Currie, Ballymena, who found it necessary to amputate two of his toes. At the time of writing the injured man, who had only recently enlisted, and was to have joined the North Irish Horse Headquarters on Thursday, is progressing as favourably as could be expected.

A fortnight later the Ballymena Observer, covering the weekly meeting of the Ballymena Board of Guardians, reported that:

... on the 9th inst. recruit Samuel J. Mulvenna, North Irish Horse, was removed from Waveney Hospital to Military Hospital, Belfast. He was taken in charge by Private Ford, of the Military Hospital. The workhouse ambulance left him at the railway station, Ballymena.

In 1916 or the first half of 1917 Mulvenna embarked for France, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments.

In September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was dismounted and most of its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the infantry. After training at the 36th (Ulster) Division Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur, most of the men were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers on 20 September and soon after were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – re-named the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt. Mulvenna was issued regimental number 41264. He probably saw action with the battalion during the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Mulvenna's experiences with the battalion through 1918 are not known at present. Following his return to the UK after the Armistice, on 24 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.


Three of Mulvenna's brothers served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the war: Hugh, in the 18th Battalion, was twice wounded in France; Robert, in the 70th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery and the 4th Canadian Division Trench Mortar Battery; and William Alexander in the 54th Battalion.