Lieutenant Samuel Gardiner Brockwell


Samuel Gardiner Brockwell was born on 19 September 1885 [or 1884] at Ottawa, Canada, son of Samuel and Laura Brockwell. Educated at the City of London School, prior to the war he worked in the accountant’s department of the Buenos Ayres Great Southern Railway Company.

He enlisted in the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps (No.4128) on 10 June 1915 and the following March joined the Cavalry Cadet Squadron at Netheravon. On 28 July 1916 he was commissioned and posted to the North Irish Horse.

On 14 February 1917 he embarked for France, where he joined the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment in the field. On 28 January 1918 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant.

In February-March 1918 the 1st North Irish Horse was dismounted and converted to a corps cyclist regiment. This left around a quarter of the officers and men of the regiment surplus to requirements. Between 1 and 13 March nine officers and 66 other ranks left the regiment, all but three of the latter reporting for duty at the Machine Gun Base Depot at Camiers. However following heavy losses in the German offensive at the end of March, most were attached as reinforcements to regular cavalry units of the 1st Cavalry Division. The war diary of the 9th (Queen's Royal) Lancers notes on 3 April that six officers of the North Irish Horse joined the regiment, one of those being 2nd Lieutenant Brockwell.

Brockwell commanded No.4 Troop of A Squadron. He was captured during a charge by his squadron on a group of German machine guns between Méharicourt and Fouquescourt on 9 August 1918. He later described the incident in the following terms:

The infantry (Canadians) were held up in front of MEHARICOURT. The squadron leader (A Sqn) of the 9th Lancers, decided to attack the enemy machine guns with the 1st, 2nd & 4th troops, or cut in between the said guns & the village, with a view of cutting off small parties of the enemy. On approaching the M.G.’s a change of direction was given & in consequence, my men became jambed. Being under direct M.G. fire I immediately became engaged in opening out my troop (this had to be done looking behind) during which my mare failed to clear a deep shell hole & fell on her head. I was rendered unconscious also hurting my left shoulder, leg & wrist. Time about 5.15 p.m.

Soon after 8 p.m. I came to (apparently the enemy had counter attacked & had advanced a few hundred yards) & about 20 minutes later, I was located by a man carrying ammunition up to the German M.Guns, who dropped everything and shouted, with the result that an officer & 5 men appeared on the scene & made me prisoner. I was then placed in the trenches until the early hours of the following day, when I had sufficiently recovered to walk.

Brockwell was repatriated to England on 13 December 1918 and returned to Argentina on 24 November the following year, where he lived at Contaduria, Ferro Carril del Sud, Playa Constitucion, Buenos Ayres.

He relinquished his commission in the North Irish Horse on 17 May 1920.