Donaghcloney's Dead from
The Great War 1914-18
Samuel Barbour Combe
Lieutenant Combe, S.B.
North Irish Horse
who died on
1 October 1914. Age 34
Husband of Mary Theresa Combe, of Donaghcloney.
LE TOURET MEMORIAL
Grave or Reference Panel Number:
Lurgan Mail: 12th December 1914:
The fate of Lieutenant Combe
SHOT DOWN BY GERMANS
It will be remembered that Lieutenant S. B. Combe was reported missing in the early October casualty lists, after an outpost encounter in which the North Irish Horse were engaged. What seems to be definite information was received at Donaghcloney, on Thursday, and this was to the effect that Lieutenant Combe was killed on the 29th September, the story being that although surrounded by Germans he refused to surrender, and was shot down.
LURGAN TROOPERS SAD STORY
Trooper Richard McIlwaine, North Irish Horse, of Queen Street, Lurgan; Trooper Robert Hanna, North Irish Horse, of Victoria Street, Lurgan; Corporal James Jones, 87th Royal Irish Fusiliers, of Union Street, Lurgan; and Corporal Joseph Lennon, also of the 87th, who belongs to Annaghanoon, Waringstown, arrived home from the front this week on leave.
Trooper McIlwaine is a member of the company of the North Irish Horse, which was commanded by the late Captain S. B. Combe, regarding whose sad fate he voices the general regret felt by the men of the entire regiment, who he says, considered that there was no more popular or plucky officer in the British Army, nor one for whom the men would have done more service.
Trooper McIlwaine states that the North Irish Horse and the 19th Hussars had been in the habit of doing duty by turns close to the enemy’s lines, and on the 29th September it was the North Irish Horsemen’s turn. On that day before setting out Captain Combe got a message from headquarters directing him to try and ascertain if the village of Conday, on the opposite side of the Aisne, had been evacuated by the enemy. Conday Fort, it may be pointed out, was on the heights over the village, and was one of the enemy’s strongholds. Captain Combe accordingly set forth, accompanied by his orderly (Trooper Norman Darling, son of Dr Darling, Lurgan) on a reconnoitring expedition at about 12:45 p.m., and as the project was fraught with danger he gave express orders that if he had not returned by 2:30 p.m., no search party should be sent out for him, as he would probably have been “done for.” Before crossing the bridge over the Aisne, into the portion of country formerly held by Germans, Captain Combe dismounted and handing over his horse to his orderly, proceeded by himself on foot, but was never again seen by his orderly or any of the other men. As the evening wore on, his men became anxious, and Trooper McIlwaine and Trooper Greer volunteered to go out in search of him. They approached within a short distance of Conday, when they observed a machine gun in one of the houses. They opened fire, which was returned with interest, but recognising under the circumstances that the futility of their search, the reluctantly rode back and rejoined their company. Meanwhile Trooper Darling had also gone in search of his officer, but his efforts were equally fruitless, and he returned to his comrades at about 9 o’clock, and informed them that he feared Captain Combe must be either captured or shot. It subsequently came to the troop’s knowledge that their officer had been shot before he would surrender to the enemy.
Trooper McIlwaine had the privilege of forming one of the guard of honour on the occasion of his Majesty’s recent visit to his troops on the Continent.
from information supplied by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. www.cwgc.org. Our thanks to Richard Edgar for Additional Information
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