Samuel Nathaniel is listed as Nathaniel on the census but as Samuel on military records.
Samuel would have been around 16 years old when war broke out. He would later see his older brother James enlist with the King’s Liverpool Regiment. Perhaps seeing his brother in uniform inspired Samuel to join up when he was old enough?
It is not known when Samuel enlisted with the 200th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps (MGC). His Service Number was 380925. The 200th MGC did not go to France until 18th April 1917. Samuel became a Despatch Rider and was also qualified as a Machine Gunner. There are a number of hand drawn maps amongst his possessions, which he may have used to navigate the areas he was stationed in.
Samuel kept an exercise book and wrote of his experiences in France. He was initially attached to the 2/7th Battalion of the King’s Liverpool Regiment before being transferred to the Machine Gun Corps (MGC). He mentions other Battalions and Regiments he came across, including the sports and competitions held between them. On 5th June 1919 Samuel was granted leave and returned to Liverpool for two weeks. He had to return to France six months after the Armistice.
The following month, on 7th July, Samuel, along with the Battalion went on strike and would not take part in drills and parades. This was a common occurrence amongst a number of soldiers and battalions, who by this time were eager to return home. Guards were brought to the camp and an unnamed Brigadier General spoke to the men regarding their mutiny; they were threatened with being sent to Egypt. After another period of leave home Samuel returned to France and on 13th August 1919 discovered he would not be sent to Egypt, although he did know some men who had been. At the end of the month two groups were demobbed, but Samuel would have to wait until 20th September to start the three day journey to Demob Camp in Prees Heath.
Samuel received the British War and Victory medals. He was demobilised Class Z on 23rd October 1919, which meant he could quickly be recalled if needed as he must have initially signed up for the duration of the war.
After the war Samuel worked on the Railway at the Herculaneum Dock. He went on to marry Peggy and they had four children; John, Eric, Mary and Joyce. John recalls that his father did talk about the war and tell them stories as he flicked through photograph albums.