Private Samuel Wilson


Samuel Wilson was born on 11 March 1894 in Henry Street, Ballymena, County Antrim, the first of four children of flax rougher Joseph Wilson and his wife Mary Agnes (née Wilson). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 4 Railway Street, Ballymena with his parents and siblings, and working as a printer compositor at the Ballymena Observer newspaper.

Wilson enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 2 and 6 December 1915 (No.2019 – later Corps of Hussars No.71674). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France in late 1916. There he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment. This regiment served as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps from its establishment in May 1916 until February-March 1918, when it was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

The Ballymena Observer of 9 September 1916 reported that Wilson had been a mourner at the funeral of his youngest brother in Ballymena. On 15 December that year the paper mentioned Wilson in a report on soldiers charged with drinking on a premises during prohibited hours, but it was noted that he could not be prosecuted as he had gone to France. On 25 January 1918 it was reported that he was home on leave.

Wilson remained with the regiment throughout the war. On 3 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. Later that month he married Mary Jane McMullen in the First Presbyterian Church, Ahoghill, County Antrim.

Soon after this the couple moved to Belfast, living at 1 Canning Street Place. By 1962 they were living at 20 Duncairn Gardens, Samuel having retired from work as a linotype operator. He died in the Royal Victoria Hospital on 8 September that year.


Wilson's brother John also served in the war, in the Royal Navy.