Lance Corporal Samuel Boyd Barton


Samuel Boyd Barton was born on 4 August 1887 in Shankill, Belfast, the only child of tailor and cutter George Barton and his wife Catherine (née Lewis). His father died when he was just six years old. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living with his mother at 15 Bootle Street, Shankill, and working as a damask tenter. On 17 April 1911 he married Lizzie Glenn Scott in the Duncairn Gardens Methodist Church. The couple had four children over the next eight years.

Barton enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 8 February 1915 (No.1445). 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 transferred to the infantry. Like most, Barton was posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – on 20 September, joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. He was issued regimental number 41208. He probably saw action with the battalion at 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 Barton, attached to D Company, was wounded in the chest and captured during an attack near Wulverghem during the Advance to Victory offensive. According to the 9th Battalion diary that day:

At 8am ... under an artillery barrage the Battalion, in conjunction with other Battalions on flanks, attacked. Good progress was made. D Company lost direction and got as far as Stinking Farm ... Not being protected on flanks the enemy attempted to cut them off and the Company had to retire. ... The enemy were not very numerous but their machine gun fire was heavy. The shelling was fairly heavy but was confined to vicinity of St Quentin Cabaret. ... Some of our men on the right were cut off and are thought to be made prisoners. The 29th Division 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 machine gun 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 Companies, but was driven back by machine gun 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 machine gun.

Barton was held as a prisoner of war at Schillerschule, Würzburg, then at Hammelburg, until the end of the war, when he was repatriated. On 13 May 1919 he was discharged, being 'no longer physically fit for war service' (paragraph 392 (xvi), King's Regulations) and was granted a pension due to his wounds. As late as April 1923 his level of diability was assessed at 30 per cent.