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Captain Arthur Purefoy Irwin Samuels

Ration Farm Cemetery (La Plus Douve) Annexe Grave II.B.25

‘C’ Company 11th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, 108th Infantry Brigade, 36th (Ulster) Division

Age 28

KIA 24.9.16

The son of the Hon. Mr Justice Arthur Warren Samuels, Irish Unionist Alliance MP for Dublin University 1917 to 1919. He left the House of Commons when he was appointed a Judge in 1919. He was also Solicitor-General 1917 to 1918, Attorney-General for Ireland 1918 to 1919, and a Judge of the Irish High Court 1919 to 1925. He married Emma Margaret (nee Irwin) in 1881 and they had a son and a daughter. They resided at Howath Hill, Dublin.


Early Life

Arthur was born in 1886 and was educated at St Stephen’s School, Dublin and Trinity College, Dublin. He was called to the bar in 1910. Arthur was an authority on the Anglo-Irish politician and philosopher Edmund Burke and edited a collection of his correspondence and writings which he did not complete due to the war. His father completed the work and published the book in 1923. He married Dorothy Gage (nee Young) in 1913. He was a Lieutenant in the University Officer Training Corps and on the outbreak of war was commissioned to the 11th Royal Irish Rifles and gazetted a Lieutenant in November 1914 and then a temporary Captain in February 1915. In October 1915, he went to France and took command of ‘C’ Company. He received a shrapnel wound on the eve of the Battle of the Somme and missed the opening phase of the battle. He rejoined the battalion as they moved north to the Ypres Salient in September 1916.


His Death

At 1.30am on the 1 September the battalion attempted a gas attack on the German front line in front of Messines.

Linesman Map

The wind changed direction and the gas blew back on their lines gassing the men of ‘A’ Company. ‘B’ Company was sent forward from the reserve line at 2.15am and at 10.15 am the Royal Engineers discovered that three cylinders were still leaking and more men were gassed. The battalion casualties were recorded as 6 Officers and 120 other Ranks gassed.

War Diary recording the gas attack that went wrong

On the 24 September the battalion was in the line in front of Messines once again. The War Diary records that Arthur was killed at 1am by a machine gun bullet in the forward sap.

War Diary recording Arthur's death


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