Lance Corporal Samuel Houston



The family background of this North Irish Horseman is not clear at present. He may have been the Samuel Houston, born in County Down around 1878, son of Thomas Houston. The non-military information in this biography is based on that assumption.

The 1901 Irish Census shows Houston living at 10 Marlborough Avenue, Belfast with an uncle and aunt, and working as a saddler. On 2 September 1905 he married Susannna Shanks at Malone Presbyterian Church, Shankill, Belfast. The couple had five children over the next eight years. the 1911 Census shows him living with his wife and three children at 131 Melrose Street, Belfast and working as a saddler. He later worked as a shoemaker.

Houston enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 19 and 30 September 1916 (No.2281). He may have stated his age at much less than his thirty-eight years, but his skills as a saddler would have been seen as useful for the regiment.

In the first months of 1917 Houston embarked for France, where he was posted to either B of C Squadron of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment. In September 1917 this regiment was disbanded and most of the men transferred to the infantry. Houston, like most of the men, was transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – on 20 September 1917. He was issued regimental number 41449 and posted to C Company.

It is likely that he saw action with the battalion in the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917. On 22 December 1917 he was admitted to the No.3 Casualty Clearing Station and soon after was transferred to the 18th General Hospital suffering from severe ICT (inflammation of the connective tissue) of the left arm. He remained under treatment for the next three weeks. (Note: this record gives his age as 28.)

Houston later returned to his battalion, seeing action during the Advance to Victory Offensive from August to November 1918. The War Office Daily Casualty Lists of 12 October and 7 December 1918 reported that he had been wounded.

Houston was discharged on 20 July 1920 and returned to the shoemaking trade. He died at his home at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, on 24 February 1954.


Image from the Belfast Evening Telegraph kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster (