Private William Thomas Roulston



William Thomas Roulston was born about 1893 at Glen Lower, Ramelton, County Donegal, one of fourteen children of farmer David Samuel Roulston and his wife Mary. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living as a boarder in Great James' Street, Londonderry, and working as a shirt cutter.

Roulston enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 5 September 1914 at Londonderry (No.1153). He embarked for France on 20 January 1915 as part of a small reinforcement draft, Roulston being posted to C Squadron.

On 13 April he received a shrapnel wound to his chest and was evacuated to England where he received treatment at the Borough Hospital, Birkenhead. Having received news of his injury, his mother wrote to the authorities on 19 April:

I received a postcard from my son Private William Roulston, 1153, third army corps North Irish Horse, saying that he had been admitted in to hospital wounded, & I would be greatly obliged if you could find out for me his conditions, & what hospital he is in, as I am anxious to hear about him & to know how he is ...
Yours respectfully
Mary Roulston

While recuperating at home, Roulston married Mary Elizabeth Finlay at Templemore on 22 April 1916.

He returned to his squadron in France on 4 August 1916, which was by then part of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment. On 20 September 1917 he was transferred to the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers (No.41261) when the regiment was dismounted and absorbed into that battalion.

Following the Battle of Cambrai he was one of a large number of men of the battalion who transferred to the Tank Corp (on 28 December 1917) (No.304847). Roulston was posted for training at the Tank Corps Depot at Bovington, Dorset.

On 3 September 1918 he returned to France, being posted to the Tank Corps reinforcement depot. He joined the 11th Battalion on 7 November.

Roulston was transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 28 March 1919.


At least one of Roulston's brothers, James, served in the war, with the Royal Inniskilling Fusileirs. He was awarded a Military Medal, and died of wounds on 5 October 1918.


Image from the Ballymena Weekly Telegraph of May 1915 kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster (