Private Robert John Seaman


Robert John Seaman was born at Castle Taylor, Gort, County Galway, on 30 July 1893, the first of two children of coachman (later farmer) Richard Seaman and his wife Frances (née Monahan). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Lettermire, County Londonderry, with his parents and sister. He later worked as a grocer's assistant.

Seaman enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 21 January 1915 (No.1416). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot before embarking for France on 17 November 1915 with F Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 33rd Division.

In June 1916 F Squadron combined with C Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Seaman, 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. Seaman was issued regimental number 41186.

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

On 28 December 1917 Seaman was one of twenty-four former men of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment who transferred from the 9th (NIH) Battalion to the Tank Corps (No.304870). While training at the Tank Corps Depot at Bovington near Wareham, Dorset, he was posted to the newly-formed 15th (Heavy) Battalion.

On 13 May he was posted to a reserve unit and on 4 June embarked for France, where he was posted to a reinforcement battalion. On 20 August he was posted to the 4th Tank Battalion. This battalion saw much action during the Advance to Victory offensive, at Amiens (8-11 August), Albert (22 August), St Quentin Canal (29 September), the Beaurevoir Line (5 October), and 2nd Cambrai (9 October).

Seaman returned to the UK on 20 January 1919. Soon after, he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.