He was the son of Rev. Robert Forde.
The Lennonwylie website records him being educated at Campbell College:
852. Forde, James Theophilus Elliott, b. 19th May, 1890, son of Rev. Robert Forde, Dundrum Rectory, Co. Down. Brother of 970. IV, July, 1906. Great War: Lieut., N.I.H. and Machine Gun Corps. Chairman, Northern Bank Ltd. Address: 34 Wellington Park, Belfast. (M.q.)
On 24th December 1915, aged 25, Forde volunteered and enlisted into the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps (OTC) as a Private. He was gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant with the Res Regiment of Hussars, transferred as a 2nd Lieutenant into the North Irish Horse, served with the British Expeditionary Force and seconded into the Machine-Gun Corps before re-transferring into the North Irish Horse.
Action was seen in the Allied Retreat 1918, the Allied Advance 1918 before being demobilised in March 1919. Forde was awarded the British Victory Medal and the British War Medal.
Following demobilisation, Forde rejoined the Northern Bank at Ball’s Branch. Further transfers followed to Grafton Street – Donnybrook sub-office (1919), Coleraine (1921), Grafton Street (1925) and Donegall Square (1928).
Forde was appointed as a Director of Northern Bank in 1943. Later he was appointed Chairman.