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Saturday, 10 November 2012

Harrip, John Wesley

Sergeant John Wesley Harrip
was born in Cookstown on 20th May 1885. He was of Methodist faith.

He joined Northern Bank on 6th January 1903 at Head Office.  Transfers followed to Clones (1903), Downpatrick (1905), Newry (1907), Head Office (1907), Londonderry (1908), Southern (1910) and Head Office (1911).  By 1911, Harrip was boarding in house 8, St. Anne’s Villas, Merchant’s Quay, Dublin.  He is described as a Bank Clerk.

Northern Banking Company Limited, Downpatrick

Northern Banking Company Limited, Londonderry

In July 1914, aged 29, Harrip enlisted into 'B' Company, 14th Bn. Royal Irish Rifles (Young Citizen Volunteers [YCV]) as a Private for the duration of the war.  His Service Number was 14/14850.

Battalion records record his address on enlistment as Tougherdoo, Dromore, Co. Tyrone and his next of kin as his mother with surname Gibson.

He served with the British Expeditionary Force and transferred into the 16th Bn. Royal Irish Rifles (Pioneers).  He was promoted to Corporal on 4th April 1916 and was a Signaller in the battalion.  Further promotion to Sergeant followed.

Harrip saw action at Somme 1916, Messines 1917, Langemarck 1917 (Ypres), Cambrai 1917, St. Quentin 1918 and Passchendaele 1918.

In August 1916 he was photographed by Cpl George Hackney at Ploegstreert, Belgium, close to Messines.  In the photograph he is managing the battalion mail and Hackney describes the men in the photograph as 'Postmen'.

A N Other & J W Harrip
Photograph by Corporal George Hackney
via Mark Scott Photography

Demobilisation came in January 1919.  He was awarded the 1914/15 Star (dis-embarked on 5th October 1915), the British Victory Medal and the British War Medal.  Although the Medal Index Card indicates his rank was Corporal, it is the Northern Banking Company Centenary Volume that records him as being promoted to Sergeant.  The original medals and leather service number tags have been framed along with those of another Northern Banking Company official, J E Bullick.

[Courtesy of David Wilson]

Following demobilisation, Harrip rejoined the Northern Bank on 20th January 1919 at Head Office. A transfer followed to Connswater in 1940.

Retirement came on 30th June 1947.

The Staff Magazine ‘The Link (August 1981)’ contains a photograph of Harrip in a 1913 Northern Bank Staff Golf outing.

Also see the biography on J E Walsh.

Some of the information in this biography has been supplied by Mark Scott.

The photographs of George Hackney featured in a BBC NI television documentary shown in November 2014.


  1. John Wesley Harrip served in "B" Company 14th Royal Irish Rifles (YCV). He was promoted to Corporal on the 4th April 1916 and was a signaller in the battalion. He was photographed by Corporal George Hackney in early August 1916 at Ploegsteert in Belgium, close to Messines. In the photograph he is managing the battalion mail and Hackney describes the photograph as "Postmen".
    Battalion records record his address on enlistment as Tougherdoo, Dromore, County Tyrone and his next of kin as being his mother with surname Gibson.

    1. Mark, thank you very much for this photo and associated information, Regards, Gavin


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