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Sunday, 11 November 2012

Revels, David Henry

Lieutenant David Henry Revels
was born at Tullyhappy, Jerrettspass on 22nd February 1888 to Joseph Revels, Farmer and Elizabeth Anne Revels.

David H Revels - Birth Registration

In 1901, David is living in house 18, Tullyhappy, Tullyhappy Ward, Co. Armagh with his parents and 5 siblings, Joseph, Agnes, Elizabeth, Samuel and Robert.  A nurse and 2 servants were also present in the house.

Revels joined Northern Bank at Head Office on 8th October 1906.

Northern Bank, Head Office, Victoria Street, Belfast

Transfers followed to Lisburn (1906), Carrick-on-Shannon (1907), Armagh (1908) and Ball’s Branch (1909).

Northern Bank, Lisburn branch (replaced in 1920s)

Northern Bank, Carrick-on-Shannon branch (see below)

Northern Bank, Armagh branch

By 1911, Revels is boarding in house 4, Lower Sackville Street, North Dock, Dublin. He is recorded as a Bank Clerk.

On ‘Ulster Day’, Saturday, 28th September 1912, 14 members of the Revels family from Tullyhappy or Jerrettspass area signed either the Ulster Covenant or the Women’s Declaration.

Revels resigned from the Bank on 1st November 1912 but re-entered on 31st March 1913 at Strokestown.

Application for Appointment to a Temporary Commission in the Regular Army for the period of the War – dated 27th October 1915

Revels expressed his preference in the above mentioned document as follows:   
  • Garrison, Field or Horse Artillery; Cavalry or any Department connected with horses; any Infantry Regiment – Irish if possible. 
  • “I wish, however, to be considered specially for artillery, and to have my name placed on the waiting list”.

Application for Admission to an Officer Cadet Unit – dated 25th July 1916

Revels expressed his preference in the above mentioned document as follows: 
  • Special Reserve [i.e. not Regular Army]; Artillery, Royal Field Artillery
When completing the application form, Revels described the occupation of his father as a 'Gentleman Farmer'.

On 24th January 1916 at the age of 27, Revels volunteered and enlisted into the Inns of Court (Officer Training Corps (OTC).   He was gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery before serving in the British Expeditionary Force.   He was promoted to Lieutenant Special Service with the Arabian Field Force commanding a Camel Battery. Service was seen in the Somme 1918, Arras, Monchy le Preux, Chemical Works, Yser, Ypres 1917 and Kemmel 1918. 

During the war, he was injured 3 times; a gunshot wound, gassed and seriously injured later. 
Demobilisation followed in July 1919.   He was awarded the British Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

Royal Field Artillery, 2nd Lieutenant
Royal Field Artillery, Lieutenant

On 7th July 1919 he re-joined the Northern Bank at Strokestown. Transfers followed to Lanesborough (1921), Head Office (1924), Irvinestown (1925) and Donegall Square (1925), Head Office (1927), Down – Sub-Manager (1931) and Head Office – No. 4 Teller (1933).

Northern Banking Company, Donegall Square

Revels ceased to belong to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers in February 1938 having been a Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery with Service Number 114217. 

Northern Banking Company - Correspondents Advice

The following document was use to advise the banking community of D H Revels appointment as manager of Lanesborough branch.

Period 1938 to 1941
In addition to copies of the various application forms described in this section, the [current] Ministry of Defence released copies of various letters between Revels, the Bank and the War Office.   Excepts from them follow below.

Personal letter to the Under Secretary of State, The War Office dated 19th April 1938 (from D H R, NB, Head Office) referring to their letter of 14th April 1938 ‘... which I note with regret ...’. DHR appears to be offering his services to the army in Northern Ireland and although there is recruitment for a Fortress Unit and an Engineers Unit, DHR would like to see recruitment for a Horse & Field Unit of Artillery.   He seems to think that the ‘movement and training in different parts of the country ... would have a most stimulating effect on recruiting ...’

The War Office responded on 26th May 1938 acknowledging his offer of service and suggesting he would be interested in the Officers’ Emergency Reserve.

Letter from the Secretary, Northern Bank Ltd dated 23rd April 1940 to DHR advising that ‘... we have received your application to be relieved of duty here to enable you to join up for duty in HM Army Pay Department’.  ‘We have carefully considered your application and in doing so have taken into account your age, your length of service in the Bank and your active service during the last war.   We regret we must refuse your application, and reserve such permits, as we are able to grant, for much younger men’.
[DHR was aged 52 and 2 months and had circa 34 years of service.]

[DHR also considered that he had been given private assurances by an un-named Director that there would be no difficulty in leaving the bank for Active Service.]

Personal letter to the Under Secretary of State, The War Office dated 24th April 1940 (from D H R, NB, Head Office) referring to a letter dated 16th April 1940. DHR indicates ‘ .... that a difficulty has been raised by the Bank, at the last minute ....’.   He goes on to say that ‘ ... the objections are most unreasonable ....’.   DHR indicates that the Bank have an objection to him joining the Royal Army Pay Corps but no objection to him being called up for service in the Royal Artillery again.

Revels retired from the bank on 30th June 1941.

Application for Emergency Commission – dated 11th February 1941 – aged 53

Revels completed sections of the above mentioned document as follows:

Decorations held: General Service & Victory Medals (was recommended for MC)
Occupation: Bank official (was Branch Manager)
  • Education: Newry Intermediate School; Shaftesbury House, Belfast
  • Previous Service: Inns of Court OTC (Cavalry) 12/15 to 04/16; RHA St John’s Wood, Cadet 04/16 to 11/16; Commissioned RH & RFA (SR) & RARO 11/16 to 02/38
  • Preferred working with horses rather than duty with an infantry regiment.
  • “The usual Field ...... with a Battery of Horses .... Artillery on Active .... France ....”
  • Has an intimate knowledge of Belgium, France, Arabia, Ireland.
  • Qualifications: Usual instruction in M.G. (presume machine guns); School of Gunnery 1916; Course of Signalling; Veterinary Course (1917); Gas Course (passed 1st class)
  • Service Overseas: France 1916-18; Arabia
The application form was counter-signed by Major-General R K Hezlett.
Revels' referees were from the bank:
  • W F Scott, Northern Bank, Head Office – Chairman of Directors;
  • Capt F W White, Northern Bank, Head Office – Director.

Army Cadet Force – Northern Ireland

Signed 26th April 1945 (late Lieutenant Paymaster RA)  
  • Certificate states ‘if he is granted a commission, he will serve with the Cadet Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers.
Later he changed his name by Deed Poll from Revels to Revel. 

In 1943, he was made Paymaster with the Royal Army Pay Corps (RAPC). 
Following demobilisation in either 1945 or 1946, Revels purchased an auctioneering business in Newry, 4 miles from his native Jerrettspass. 
In the late 1940’s / early 1950’s, he emigrated to Canada with his family.  In September 1940, a David Henry Revels is recorded as holding a patent for a ‘cigarette holder’. 
Revels married a Miss E E Spokes BA of Riverview, Banbridge in September 1931. 

Please also see this update:

Northern Bank, Carrick-on-Shannon branch

The website Buildings of Ireland records the following:


Detached four-bay two-storey over basement Victorian bank, built c.1880.  Hipped tiled roof with red brick and stone-dressed chimneystacks.  Red brick front and side elevations with sandstone string courses and dressings, and recessed brick panels with torus- moulded surrounds and quoins.  Rendered rear elevation with two-storey over basement return.  Cambered-arched openings with ovolo-moulded brick surrounds, timber sash windows and sandstone label mouldings to facade.  Sandstone balconet to first floor of fa├žade supported by brackets.  Round-headed window to side elevation.  Carved stone doorcase with overlight and sandstone overdoor.  Accessed from pavement via concrete bridge over area. Rendered and stone wall to street with wrought-iron railings.


This attractive Victorian bank building of red brick is unusual in Carrick-on-Shannon as the majority of buildings are rendered.  The elaborate carved stone dressings and contrasting brick emphasise the artistic quality.  The decorative brackets to the chimneystacks are an interesting feature.  Over time this building has retained its original function as well as retaining its original fabric.


  1. Gavin-

    A relative of mine in Edinburgh forwarded your blog entry to me. I am grateful for his eagle eyes and for your research.

    I am one of David Henry Revel's 10 grandchildren.

    This is the most comprehensive account of my Grandfather I have come across. My Grandmother, his wife, would regale me with long-winded stories so the basic facts got lost over the years in my mind. My father has filled in some of the blanks but again, this paints quite a clear picture.

    Thank you again for your hard work. I hope that others appreciate the research that you are doing.

    Brian Revel
    Vancouver, BC Canada

  2. Brian, thank you for your kind comments. Thanks must also go to your relative, Andy McComb. Regards, Gavin.

  3. Thanks, Andy- and Keith in Edinburgh...
    This entry has inspired me to spend money at to delve more deeply into my family tree...

  4. Brian, before spending money, utilise the free databases like the Irish Census 1901 & 1911 (free searches) and the databases at the Northern Ireland Public Record Office. Gavin.

  5. Gavin- I have done some further research and I can safely conclude 2 things and surmise on a 3rd- all of it sourced through Ancestry:
    I'll start with the latter: There was a David Henry Revels in the Corps of Army Engineers. I suspect he might be the patent holder for a 'cigarette holder'.
    I know as fact that he changed his name by Deed Poll in April, 1947.
    Finally, the family emigrated to Canada in 1948.


Please add any verifiable information to assist me in building on the biographical information already detailed. Thank you.