Private Robert Semple


The background of this North Irish Horseman is not known at present, other than that he was from Newtownstewart. The Presbyterian Church of Ireland Roll of Honour shows a North Irish Horseman, Robert Semple, from nearby Strabane. He may have been the Robert Semple, born around 1893, shown in the 1901 Census as living at Grange, Newtownstewart with his uncle and aunt Robert and Lizzie Semple, and their children Robert and William. If so, by the time of the 1911 Censu he was living at nearby Altdoghal and working as a domestic servant for farmer Sarah Anne Alexander.

Semple enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 24 February 1916 (regimental number unknown). In November 1916 he was among 100 North Irish Horsemen who volunteered to transfer to the Royal Irish Rifles. The formal transfer took place on 7 December (Semple was issued regimental number 40914), and on the same day they embarked for France, where they joined the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, on the Somme front.

Around May or June 1917 Semple was wounded – the details are unknown at present.

Evacuated to the UK for treatment, it is unlikely that he saw further overseas service during the war. On 28 May 1919 he was discharged as unfit for military service due to his wounds (paragraph 392 xvi, King's Regulations).