In memoriam

Private Samuel Alexander Pinkerton

 

 

Samuel Alexander Pinkerton was born on 7 March 1887 at Crossballycormick, Cumber, County Londonderry, the fourth and last child of land agent, clerk and farmer John Pinkerton and his American-born wife Mary Eliza (nee Acheson). He was educated at Foyle College and grew up on the family farm.

Pinkerton enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron at Londonderry between 16 and 20 November 1914 (No. UD/158). He embarked for France with his squadron on 6 October 1915. At the time they were serving as divisional cavalry to the 36th (Ulster) Division.

In June 1916 the Inniskilling squadron came together with C and F Squadrons of the North Irish Horse to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917 when the regiment was dismounted and most of its men transferred to the infantry. After a brief period of training at the 36th (Ulster) Division's Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur, Pinkerton was transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers on 20 September and soon after was posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion. He was issued regimental number 41133. He probably saw action with the battalion during the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917 and perhaps also during the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918.

On 4 September 1918 the 9th Battalion took part in an attack south of Wulverghem on the Ypres front. The battalion war diary for the day recorded the action as follows:

8 a.m. Battle. H.Q. was formed at T.10.d.05.80. and under an artillery barrage the battalion, in conjunction with other battalions on flanks, attacked. Good progress was made. 'D' Coy lost direction and got as far as Stinking Farm (U.7.a). Not being protected on flanks the enemy attempted to cut them off and the Coy had to retire. Our line was established from road (T.6.d.35.80) where touch was made with the 30th Div., along hedge running south through T.6.d.4.0 to river in T.12.b then along breastwork trench from T.12.c.50.35 – T.18.a.80.90, with the gap between 'B' and 'A' Coys. D Coy was put in support along road running south through T.6.c and T.12.a. The enemy were not very numerous but their m.g. fire was heavy. The shelling was fairly heavy but was confined to vicinity of St Quentin Cabaret. During the operation Battle H.Q. was moved to T.5.d.80.40. Six prisoners were made, four of whom were sent through 29th Div. on the right. Some of our men on the right were cut off and are thought to be made prisoners. The 29th Div. took Hill 63 but did not come up far enough to cover our right flank. During the day there was an amount of sniping and m.g. fire and the enemy shelled St Quentin Cabaret and T.12.a with 5.9. In the afternoon he attempted a counter-attack by coming up along railway between 'B' and 'A' Coy. but was driven back by m.g. and rifle fire. At dusk our patrols were pushed forward to get the line behind Bristol Castle but were unable to do so owing to m.g.

The 9th Battalion casualties for the day were four officers wounded, and 17 other ranks killed, 67 wounded and 11 missing. Private Pinkerton was one of those killed. As he has no known grave he is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium, Memorial Panel 9.

 

 

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