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Friday, 14 December 2018

Walker, Samuel Edgar Stewart



Lieutenant Samuel Edgar Stewart Walker

was born on 29th April 1891 to  James Walker and Annie Mary Walker nee Stewart of Ballyrock. 

In 1901 Samuel is living in house 1, Ballyrock Scotch, Beardiville, Co. Antrim with his grandparents David & Martha Walker, his parents and 5 siblings, Ida, Karolina, Marion, Francis and Robert.

By 1911 the property is recorded as house 5, Ballyrock Scotch, Beardiville, Co. Antrim. 
Walker would have joined the Belfast Banking Company around 1909 working in Derry and Warrenpoint branches.



[Belfast Banking Company, Londonderry branch, 1918]



[Belfast Banking Company, Warrenpoint branch, 1918]


In 1911, Walker is boarding in house 1.2 Castlewood Avenue, Rathmines & Rathgar East, Co. Dublin.  He is described as a Bank Clerk.  There are a further 2 possible colleagues boarding; Samuel H Eakin (22) and Archibald A Ennes (20), both described as Bank Clerks. 

Walker enlisted as a Private into the Royal Highlanders with Service Number 2178.  His first theatre of war is recorded as the Western Front from 2nd May 1915.

Following his promotion to 2nd Lieutenant he was transferred to the 12th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and later promoted to Lieutenant.



The Belfast Banking Company 'Roll of Honour' booklet records Walker as having been 'previously wounded' with his last known address 'Palestine'.
The Medal Index Card records his address as the Royal Bank of Ireland, Rathdown, Queens County, Ireland.

He was awarded the 1915 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Smyth, William Thorpe



Lieutenant William Thorpe Smyth

was born around 1898 to 1901 to William Smyth and Margretta Smyth.  

In 1911 he is living in house 2, Dunamoy, Rashee, Co. Antrim with his parents and 3 siblings, David, Margretta and John.
Other addresses are Curragh, Dungall, Ballymena, The Vow, Ballymoney and Cambrai, Newhill Road, Ballymoney.
Smyth would have joined the Belfast Banking Company around 1915 working in Newry.



[Belfast Banking Company, Newry branch, 1918]


A Medal Index Card in the name of William Thorpe Smyth records him serving in the Connaught Rangers before transferring to the 7th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.




His first theatre of war is recorded as France from July 1916.  He attained the rank of Lieutenant. 
The Belfast Banking Company 'Roll of Honour' booklet records Smyth as having been 'previously wounded'.

Between January to March 1918 he married Mary Edith Livingstone.  The wedding was registered in Dundalk.

Thorpe was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Following his demobilisation after the Great War, Smyth returned to work eventually ending up Accountants Department. 
Retirement came in 1942.

Wm T Smyth died on 21st February 1963.  His address at that time was 19 Ashley Gardens, Belfast.  His estate, sealed in London was £79 3s 4d and left to his widow, Mary Edith Smyth.  His estate, sealed in Belfast was £2,061 16s and left to his widow, Mary Edith Smyth.



The website Roll of Honour records the following information:

SMYTH, Flying Officer (Pilot), BENJAMIN THORPE, 170709. 113 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. 29th March 1945.  Son of William Thorpe Smyth and Mary Edith Smyth, of Belfast, Northern Ireland. 28. G. 19.  [Taukkyan War Cemetery].


Scott, John Marshall



Lieutenant John Marshall Scott
was born in 1886 to Albert Scott and Georgina Scott.  

In 1901 John lived in house 82, Vergemount Hall, Clonskeagh, Pembroke West, Dublin with his parents and 3 siblings, Albert George; Ernest Hill and Hilda Joy.  

The 1911 Irish Census records the family living in house 1, Clareville Road, Terenure, Dublin.  His sister Hilda Joy is the only sibling living at home.  John’s occupation is described as a Banker. 
Scott would have joined the Belfast Banking Company around 1911 and worked in Pembroke, Dublin and Rathmines, Dublin.




Belfast Banking Company, Pembroke, Dublin branch




Belfast Banking Company, Rathmines, Dublin branch


Scott served with the 1st Bn. Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians).  

On 1st July 1916 Scott was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant (on probation).  

His first theatre of war is recorded as Salonika, Greece from 15th September 1916.

On 2nd August 1919 Capt & QM Lt J M Scott returned to the UK with the 1st Bn Leinster Regiment.



Medal Index Card - Lt J M Scott



Scott would have been awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal. 

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Mercer, Maurice Dillon



Maurice Dillon Mercer
was born 27th September 1897 in Bridge Street, Dromore to William James Mercer, Draper and Margaret Mercer nee Henry.

In 1901 the family were living in house 5, Bridge Street, Dromore, Co. Down.  By 1911, the property is described as house 8, Bridge Street, Dromore, Co. Down.

On 28th September 1912, Mercer signed the Ulster Covenant at Dromore.

Mercer would have joined the Belfast Banking Company around 1915 and worked in Derry and Rathfriland branches.



[Belfast Banking Company, Shipquay Street, Londonderry]




Belfast Banking Company, Rathfriland

Mercer served with the 26th Bankers’ Bn. Royal Irish Fusiliers.  He is also recorded as serving in the 22nd Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) and also the 23rd Royal Fusiliers.  His Service Number was G/52005.

The Belfast Banking Company 'Roll of Honour' booklet records Mercer as being a 'prisoner of war'.

Mercer was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

According to the UK Pension Records, Mercer was suffering from Myalgia (see below).  On 15th May 1919, Mercer was demobilised to the Belfast Banking Company, Dungannon.  Between the periods 1922 to 1927 the Pension Records card was updated many times.



[Belfast Banking Company, Dungannon branch]




[UK Pension Record Card - M D Mercer]


Mercer was a member of the Belfast Banking Company Sports Club in March 1948 paying 1 shillings subscription.

Retirement came in 1960.

An Ancestry.Com family tree states that Mercer died on 24th July 1982.  This has been confirmed in the Northern Bank staff magazine 'The Link' of Autumn 1982.

Hewitt, William Arthur



2nd Lieutenant William Arthur Hewitt

was born in 1893 the son of James H Hewitt and Jeannie D Hewitt, of Altamont, 97 Mornington Park, Bangor, Co. Down.  James was a well known local figure, being the local manager in the Workshops for the Blind.

In 1901 the family were living in house 15, Rosetta Avenue, Ormeau, Belfast.

He was educated at RBAI (Inst.), played rugby for the North of Ireland Rugby Football Club and was also a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

Hewitt joined the Belfast Banking Company and served in Markets branch.



[Belfast Banking Company, Markets branch (Victoria Street, Belfast (1918))]


By 1911 the family were living in house 27, Downshire Road, Bangor, Co. Down with their son, William A, aged 18.  William is described as a Bank Clerk. He had been working in Head Office.

On 28th September 1912, Hewitt's father signed the Ulster Covenant at Dufferin Memorial Hall, Bangor.

Hewitt volunteered and enlisted into the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.  His first theatre of war is recorded as western Europe from 25th March 1916.  His Medal Index Card records his father's address as Mornington Park, Bangor.

He was serving with 9th Bn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers as a 2nd Lieutenant when he was killed in action on 1st July 1916 aged 23.  He was their Assistant Adjutant.

Hewitt was one of three brothers who fell.  They were Lieutenant Ernest Henry Hewitt (Mentioned in Dispatches), killed in action on 15th / 16th June 1915 aged 29, and Lieutenant Holt Montgomery Hewitt, killed in action on 1st July 1916 aged 29.  William is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France and also on Bangor War Memorial.

A brass memorial tablet, commemorating all three brothers is also on show in St. Comgall's Church, Bangor.   It was dedicated and unveiled in August 9 - see newspaper clipping below.


The Belfast News Letter of 7th July 1916 reports:


The Belfast News Letter of 10th July 1916 reports:


The Belfast News Letter of 12th July 1916 reports:


The Belfast News Letter of 15th August 1917 reports:


Administration of the estate was granted at Belfast to Francis H Hewitt, Manager.  Hewitt's effects were £352 9s 6d.




Thanks to Nigel Henderson of Great War Belfast Newspapers (www.greatwarbelfastclippings.com) for this image.

Morris, William Oliver Ernest





2nd Lieutenant William Oliver Ernest Morris
was born in Omagh on 11th January 1895.

He was the son of the late Capt & Quartermaster W A Morris MC (1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers) and Mrs E A Morris nee Montgomery, ‘Inverna’, Woodland Avenue, Belfast. 

Following his education at RBAI, Morris joined the Belfast Banking Company and served in North City, Dublin branch.



[Belfast Banking Company, North City, Dublin branch (1918)]


On 7th September 1914 he enlisted in Dublin into the South Irish Horse.   Morris was commissioned on 9th February 1915 to the King’s Regiment.   He was serving with 16th Bn. attached to the 12th Bn. The King's (Liverpool Regiment) as a 2nd Lieutenant when he was killed in action on 17th June 1916.

The battalion were in the trenches in front of Potijze, east of Ypres.  Following a quiet day, they were heavily shelled at dusk, with the front and support trenches being bombarded about midnight.  Six men were killed, including Morris. 

The Belfast News Letter of 23rd June 1916 reports:



Morris is buried in the Potijze Chateau Wood Cemetery, leper West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.





The family memorial in Breandrum Cemetery in Enniskillen.  Capt W A Morris MC (father) 19th March 1917 and his son Lt E Morris 17th June 1916.


The regimental magazine 'The Sprig' records Morris' death as follows:



['The Sprig' - Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers regimental magazine]




[Photo courtesy of Nigel Henderson, Great War Belfast Clippings]

Caskey, William Scott


Colonel William Scott Caskey MBE
was born on 22nd March 1925.  His parents were Capt. James Alexander Caskey MC and Sarah Margaret Caskey nee Buchanan.  He was of Presbyterian faith.  His address was recorded as Breezemount, Roddens, Larne.
On 29th March 1943 Caskey joined Northern Bank at Head Office.  In the same year, he was transferred to Antrim Road as junior. 
He resigned from the Bank on 31st March 1944 to enlist into the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers with Service Number I4446495.  On 3rd August 1945 the London Gazette records Caskey as being promoted to 2nd Lieutenant with Service Number 352265 in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.  Following the end of the war, he was promoted to Lieutenant on 22nd September 1947. 
Caskey did not rejoin the bank.  This was confirmed in a note dated 6th January 1948 when Caskey advised the bank that he had a commission in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

In 1952, Captain Caskey was Adjutant to the Royal Engineers sub-unit of Queens' University OTC attending a camp at Ballyedmond.




(Acknowledgements to lennonwylie)

In 1953, he transferred to the Royal Army Pay Corps as a Captain and Paymaster with seniority from 5th October 1953.  Promotion to Major came on 22nd March 1959. 
In 1962, he was awarded the MBE (Military Division) in the Queen's Birthday Honours.  On 31st December 1968, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. 
A further promotion to Colonel came on 30th December 1972 with seniority back dated to 30th June 1972. 
On 30th October 1974, Colonel Caskey retired on account of disability. 
Caskey had several papers published on the computerisation of army payrolls.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Shannon, B



Benjamin Shannon
was born on 12th April 1880 to John Shannon (Labourer of Upper Ballingate, Co. Wicklow) and Sarah Shannon nee Kinch.  

The Irish Census 1901 records a Benjamin (20) as boarding in house 21 Clanmorris, Ardfert, Co. Kerry.  His occupation is recorded as 'Ordnance Survey'.  Two other 'OS' staff are boarding in this property.

The Irish Census 1911 records a Benjamin (29) living in house 32 Golden Lane, Wood Quay, Dublin.  His occupation is recorded as a Shop Assistant.

On 10th March 1912 Benjamin (full age) married Emily Martha Wood.  Both their addresses are recorded as 22 Adelaide Street, Kingstown.  Benjamin's occupation is recorded as a Bank Porter.  His father is recorded as Robert Shannon.  [This does not agree with the birth record].

Prior to 1912 Benjamin Shannon became a Bank Porter for the Belfast Banking Company.

Benjamin enlisted directly into the Royal Flying Corps (on 16th April) 1917 as a Class F Reservist (with Service Number 76056) eventually being appointed as a Air Mech 2.

An enquiry left on the forum of the '1914-1918.Invisionzone.com' led to Forum member, 'HarryBrook' advising me of the following details:

  • R.A.F. Muster Roll 1918
  • Air Force No. 76056
  • Name Shannon B.
  • R.N.A.S. or R.F.C. Trade Classification - K.B.S.(B.P.)
  • Remustered to R.A.F. Trade Classification - Labourer
  • R.N.A.S. or R.F.C. Rank or Appointment - Air Mech 2
  • New Rank in Air Force - Private 1
  • Date of Joining - 16.4.17
  • Date of Last Promotion - 1.1.18
  • Normal Rate Air Force Pay - 1s 8d
  • Terms of Enlistment - DW
Benjamin received the Victory Medal and.the British War Medal.  These were dispatched on 10th October 1921.

Following demobilisation, Benjamin returned to work for the Belfast Banking Company (BBCo).

On 25th June 1956 Emily Martha Shannon (83 - housewife) died at Royal Bank House, 102 Upper Georges Street, Dun Laoghaire (formerly Kingstown).

The Belfast Banking Company had branches all over Ireland.  At partition, the BBCo made the decision to sell all its (now) southern branches to the Royal Bank of Ireland.  




1918 photograph of the Belfast Banking Company, Kingstown

The site of this building is now occupied by Dunnes Stores (re Google Earth image.  Across the road is the former Royal Bank of Ireland branch and bank house.  Bernard Shannon and hios family probably entered via the left hand doorway.




Google Earth screen print of the former Royal Bank of Ireland branch in Dun Laoghaire


On 18th November 1962 Benjamin Shannon (81 - widower) died at 38 Belgrave Square, Monkstown.  His occupation is recorded as a bank porter.  Emily E Shannon, daughter was present at his death.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

We Will Remember Them

11th November 2018 - Armistice Centenary 

This post is to remember our colleagues who served, died in any conflict since the Great War be it as part of the armed forces or as a civilian just doing their job.

Specifically on this day, 11th November 2018, we remember those of our colleagues who courageously left their bank roles and went off to war.  Today's Northern Bank was created in 1970 with the amalgamation of the Belfast Banking Company with the Northern Banking Company.  The table below reflects the statistics of the Great War period.  


Northern Bank – The Great War
99 officials volunteered for service
and
  1 Reservist was called up for service
of which
11 were killed in action

  3 were reported missing

  1 died on active service
  7 were rejected for military service


Belfast Bank – The Great War                   
93 officials volunteered for service
of which
16 were killed in action

1 was accidentally killed on active service

1 was reported missing








The following section of text is taken from page 203 of the Northern Bank Centenary Volume 1924 as it best describes those men who volunteered for war.


War Record
We have included in this volume a reproduction of the War Memorial, which hangs in the hall of the cash office at Head Office.  A perusal of the record of those who served will, we feel confident, engender a feeling of pride in the part the officials of the Bank took in the operations of the Great War.  Many banks have published separate war volumes recording the service of the members of their staffs.  In the case of kindred institutions across the water the numbers of those who so served run into figures larger perhaps by comparison than those we shew.  But it must be remembered that, with very few exceptions, every man who went from an Irish bank was a volunteer.  In the case of the Northern Bank there was but one such exception – William Pattenden, Head Office porter, a reservist of the Royal Sussex Regiment.  He was called up on the outbreak of war and went with the British Expeditionary Force, only to fall a few days after landing – the first casualty we had to record. Ninety-nine officials in all, or 25 per cent. of staff, volunteered; seven of the number were rejected on medical examination, and, of the remainder, fifteen made the supreme sacrifice.  We honour the names of those who volunteered, and, we hold in reverence the memory of those who fell, - many, alas, of whom were but lads on the threshold of life.



The following poem is by Laurence Robert Binyon, 1869-1943

For The Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


They mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.


Acknowledgements to The Western Front Association website.



Thursday, 1 November 2018

Roll of Honour - November

Roll of Honour - November




It is with much sadness that the following bank officials died or were reported missing during either the Great War, World War II or the Northern Ireland Conflict.