Private Samuel Laird Gordon


Samuel Laird Gordon was born on 13 November 1888 at Kilkeel, County Down, the last of nine children of woollen draper Alexander Gordon and his wife Charlotte (née Trimble). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Kilkeel with his widowed father and one of his brothers, and working as an auctioneer.

Gordon enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 7 or 8 October 1914 (No.1288). The Northern Whig of 12 October reported that:

Three members of the Kilkeel Mounted Company of the Ulster Volunteers, named Samuel Gordon, Gerald Sloan, and Samuel McMurray, have passed the required examination, and have left for Shane's Castle, County Antrim, to join the Irish Horse. There are now about thirty members of the Kilkeel Ulster Force in Lord Kitchener's Army.

At the end of April 1915 he embarked for France with a reinforcement draft for A and C Squadrons – he was probably posted to C Squadron.

In June 1916 C Squadron combined with F 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. Most were 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. Seventy of the men, however, had been given the job of conducting the regiment's horses to Egypt, to be handed over for use by mounted units there. They embarked from Marseilles on board HMT Bohemian on 25 August. After a month at Alexandria they returned to France, via Italy. On 5 October 1917 they arrived at the 36th (Ulster) Division Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur for infantry training, and after just a few days joined their pals in the 9th (NIH) Battalion at Ruyaulcourt.

Gordon, part of one of these two groups, was issued issued regimental number 41565. He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917, and probably also during the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918.

He was wounded in the hand around this time, probably in the fighting near Kemmel Hill during April 1918.

On 15 July 1918 Gordon was transferred to the Labour Corps (No.609404). He was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 18 March 1919.