Private Thomas Templeton


The identity of this North Irish Horseman is not certain, but it is known that he was from Drumgurland, Islandmagee, County Antrim. He was probably the Thomas Templeton born at Drumgurland on 2 February 1895, the first of two children of carpenter Samuel Templeton and his wife Sarah (nee Kells). He may however have been the Thomas Templeton born at nearby Portmuck, Islandmagee, on 23 January 1896, the first of two children of farmer William Templeton and his wife Mary (nee Forbes).

Templeton enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 16 November 1915 (regimental number unknown at present).

In November 1916 Templeton was one of around 100 North Irish Horsemen who volunteered to transfer to the Royal Irish Rifles (No.40923). The formal transfer took place on 7 December, and on the same day the men embarked for France. There they were posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, joining it on the Somme front on 12 December.

Templeton saw a great deal of action with the battalion over the following two years and was wounded four times. The first was in early 1917, possibly during the attack in the sector in front of Bouchavesnes from 4-8 March, during which the 1st Battalion took significant casualties. He was wounded again on 16 August 1917 at the Battle of Langemarck. The third time, most probably, was between 21 and 28 March 1918 during the retreat from St Quentin during the German spring offensive, and the fourth was during the Advance to Victory offensive from August to November 1918.

The last wound, to his right arm, was the most serious. After being discharged on 4 December 1919, being no longer physically fit for war service (paragraph 392 xvi, King's Regulations), Templeton was granted a pension. In November 1921 his level of disability was assessed at 30 per cent, and permanent.