Diamond War Memorial Project

Private Samuel Bryars

'C' Company, 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Regimental Number 7892
Born: ---- Died: 1916-05-08 Aged: 30 Enlisted: Londonderry

Interred in Auchonvillers Military Cemetery, Somme, France. Name commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial.

Son of Eliza (born circa 1840/41) Bryars, 18, Henry Street, Derry, and William Bryars (born 1838/39). Brother of John (born 1872/73); Jane (born 1875/76); Mary (1878/79); Rebecca (born 1880/81); and William (born 1883/84).

Samuel Bryars was a member of Waterside Presbyterian Church, Londonderry.

Prior to rejoining the army on August 5, 1914, he was in the employment of the North of Ireland Shipbuilding Company. He came through the ordeal at Mons, Cambrai, and the Aisne with, as he wrote at the time, 'only a few scratches.' Subsequently he was badly wounded in the neck and left ear by a German sniper, and spent a period in Lincoln hospital, from where he wrote to his mother referring to some of the engagements in which he took part. On one occasion, he said, the Germans were very close to the British, and tried unsuccessfully to rush their trenches. Bayonet charges and accurate rifle fire forced them, however, to fall back, with heavy losses.

After recovering Private Bryars was into the thick of the fighting again at the Dardanelles. In the historic landing at Suvla Bay he was wounded once more, being shot in the right thigh. In Alexandra Hospital, to which he was conveyed for treatment, he underwent two operations. Recovering sufficiently to resume duty, he was next heard of in France 'trying to get some of his own back.' He died on May 8, 1916, at Field Ambulance 87 from wounds received in action. Deceased's brother, William, also served in France with the Engineers of the Ulster Division, and was gassed circa July 1916.

The name of Samuel Bryars was read out at a memorial service held, in St Columb's (Church of Ireland) Cathedral, Londonderry, on Sunday, July 30, 1916, to pay homage to the memory of the men of the city of Derry, who died during the second year of the First World War. His name was also read aloud during a special memorial service held in First Derry Presbyterian Church, on Friday, August 4, 1916, to pay tribute to the Presbyterian soldiers of the city of Londonderry, who had died during the first two years of the Great War.

In the early 1920s, both John and William Bryars, 18, Henry Street, worked as Iron Moulders in McElhinney's, and belonged to the Derry branch of the Ulster Unionist Labour Association. John Bryars, same address, was sworn into the Ulster Special Constabulary on May 29, 1922, and was given the number 1720. Elizabeth Bryars, wife of William Bryars, engineer, died at the same address on October 23, 1922, and was interred in Londonderry City Cemetery. Mary Jane Bryars, wife of William Bryars, same address, and third daughter of George Henderson, Killymallaght, died on March 11, 1926, and was interred in Glendermott Burying Ground.