Poppy In memoriam Poppy

Private Samuel William Speers

 

Speers 1

 

Samuel William Speers was born at Cullyhanna, Crossmaglen, County Armagh, on 16 January 1897, the first of seven children of farmer William Speers and his wife Letitia Margaret (formerly Stitt).

Speers enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim between 19 and 25 February 1915 (No.1453). He embarked for France on 17 November 1915 with F Squadron.

In June 1916 F Squadron joined with C Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment. In August 1917 orders came that the regiment would be dismounted and the men transferred to the infantry. Speers was one of 70 men given the job of conducting the regiment's horses to Egypt. They embarked from Marseilles on board HMT Bohemian on 25 August. After a month at Alexandria they returned to France, through Italy. On 5 October they arrived at the 36th (Ulster) Division Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur for infantry training.

After just a few days they were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion, joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt on 12 October. Speers was issued regimental number 41579. He probably saw action with the battalion during the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917, and perhaps also in the retreat from St Quentin and at Ypres in March and April 1918.

On the night of 2 August 1918 C Company and a platoon of D Company from the 9th Battalion went out on a working party near Meulenhouck on the Ypres front. By the end of the night two had been killed and four wounded, presumably by enemy artillery. Speers was one of the wounded, but died on the 3rd. He was buried at Bertenacre Military Cemetery, Fletre, France, grave I.C.5. Gravestone inscription reads:

41579 PRIVATE
S. W. SPEERS
ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS
3RD AUGUST 1918 AGE 23

HE PASSED OUT BY THE PATH
OF DUTY AND SELF SACRIFICE

 

Speers 2



Images Copyright © Phillip Tardif with all rights reserved as set out in this Use of Material policy.