Private Samuel Johnston


Samuel Johnston was born on 21 December 1894 at Tullyrusk, Glenavy, County Antrim, the second of eight children of farmer Samuel Johnston and his wife Rebecca (née McCullough). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Glenavy with his parents and his six surviving siblings and working on the family farm.

Johnston enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 25 May 1915 (No.1607). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot before embarking for France in 1916 or early 1917. There he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments. (The records on this, however, are unclear. He may in fact have not served overseas.)

On 9 July 1917 Johnston was one of around thirty North Irish Horsemen who, being no longer physically fit for front-line service due to injury, age or illness, were transferred to the Labour Corps and posted to No.664 Home Service Labour Company. It appears, based on the records of some of these men, that they continued to serve at the North Irish Horse reserve depot at Antrim. Johnston was issued regimental number 333707. He remained with the Labour Corps until the end of the war.

On 9 April 1919 Johnston was discharged (or demobilised). A year later he was granted a pension due to two forms of tuberculosis, which were determined to have been aggravated by his military service. His level of disability was assessed at 50 per cent in September 1920 and 80 per cent in January 1923.

Following his discharge Johnston returned to farming at Hopevale, Glenavy, until his retirement. He died at his residence, Main Street, Glenavy, on 18 October 1954, and was buried in Dunrod Cemetery.