Private Samuel Smith


Samuel Smith was born on 7 January 1892 in Mount Street, Donaghadee, County Down, the first of eleven children of carpenter (later grocer and 'agent for sewed muslins') John Smith and his wife Maggie (née McGimpsey). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at The Square, Comber, County Down, with his widowed father and five of his siblings, and working as a grocer.

Smith enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 3 or 4 September 1914 (No.1104). On 17 November 1915 he embarked for France 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 Smith, 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. Smith was issued regimental number 41202 and posted to D Company.

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

Smith was one of the many posted as missing following the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive. It was later learned that he had been captured, unwounded, on 27 March at Erches, near Roye, when much of the battalion had been overwhelmed by the fast-moving German advance. He remained a prisoner until the end of the war, held at camps in Giessen and Limburg.

Following his repatriation, on 15 April 1919 Smith was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. He was granted a pension as a result of a wound to his left hand, which was attributed to his military service.