Company Quartermaster Sergeant William Samuel McClenaghan


The background of this North Irish Horseman is not known for certain, but he may have been the William Samuel McClenaghan born on 8 February 1896 at Cladybeg, Markethill, County Armagh, the only child of farmer James McClenaghan and his wife Maggie (née Hyde). Both the 1901 and 1911 Censuses shown him living at Cladybeg with his grandparents, Samuel and Sarah McClenaghan. In 1911 he was working as a draper's apprentice.

McClenaghan enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim between 4 and 14 January 1916 (No.2065). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot before embarking for France at the end of that year. There he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments, probably the latter.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. McClenaghan was one of 70 men 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 were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – which had been renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt on 12 October. McClenaghan was issued regimental number 41580.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917, and during the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918.

The War Office Daily Casualty List of 8 June 1918 reported that McClenaghan had been wounded. This probably occurred in the fighting around Wulverghem and Mount Kemmel on the Ypres front in April that year. It is not known if he saw any further front-line service in the war.


Records show that McClenaghan reached the rank of Colour Sergeant (Squadron Sergeant-Major) in the North Irish Horse, and Acting Company Quartermaster Sergeant in the Royal Irish Fusiliers.


The postcard below, sourced from an internet auction site, was sent by McClenaghan from France to Miss Edith Emma Dynes of Bleary, Lurgan. It reads:

2065 SIGGR W. S. McClenaghan,
North Irish Horse, No.5 General Base Cavalry Details,
Rouen, France
Dear Miss Dynes,

How are you getting along. I was expecting a letter from you before I left Antrim, but none has came my way yet. Perhaps you have changed your name and mine didn't reach you. Remember me to your mother and sisters, hope they are all well. No more at present. Kindest regards from your old friend Sam.
By ging you are nicer than ever.