Private Samuel James McAllister

 

This North Irish Horseman was probably the Samuel James McAllister born on 16 March 1885 at Breckagh, Ballymoney, County Antrim, the sixth of seven children of weaver and labourer Samuel Smith McAllister and his wife Elizabeth (nee Foster). Samuel's mother died when he was just five years old, but two years later his father was remarried, to Anne Jane Thompson, at Ballycastle Presbyterian Church – the couple had three children over the next four years.

By 1901 Samuel was living at Deffrick, not far from his father's and step-mother's home at Culduff [Culdoo], and was working as a farm servant. On 14 April 1915 he married Margaret Chestnut at Toberdoney Parish Church, Billy. Their child, Samuel, had been born at Ballydivity the previous month.

A few weeks later, on 3 May, McAllister enlisted in the North Irish Horse (No.1513 – later Corps of Hussars No.71416).

It appears that McAllister was in Dublin or nearby, perhaps at the Curragh camp, when the Easter Rebellion began on 24 April 1916. He took part in the fighting that week, the Northern Whig of 5 May 1916 reporting:

Trooper Samuel McAllister, 3rd Troop, North Irish Horse, is at present in his home at Culduff, Ballymoney, having been wounded in the fighting in Dublin on Wednesday last [26 April], a bullet penetrating his neck.

McAllister is the only North Irish Horseman identified as playing a role in the fighting in Dublin that Easter. North Irish Horseman Charles Trimble later recalled that:

One recruit of a few weeks standing who had been on leave in Dublin at the time of the rising arrived back at Antrim many days overdue, but his pass had attached to it a certificate to the effect that he had proved himself an excellent soldier when a Dublin barracks to which he had made his way, was attacked. There was no CB for him, but congratulations.

This may have been McAllister, but more likely was another Horseman.

McAllister embarked for France between 1916 and 1918, where he was posted to one of the three squadrons of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment – A, D and E.

On 25 February 1919 he was transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.