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Monday, 21 January 2013

Breene, Thomas Frederick



2nd Lieutenant Thomas Frederick Breene

was born in Belfast on 17th May 1888.

He was the son of Thomas John Breene and Mary Breene of 99 Fitzroy Avenue, Belfast.  The family were of Church of Ireland faith.

The 1901 Irish Census records the parents and sons, John (Jack) G, Nicholas, Thomas F, Richard S, Walter, Harold (Hal) and daughter Aileen C.  A servant, Bridget Turbridy was also present.

On 1st March 1906, Breene joined Northern Bank in Head Office.  Transfers followed to Balbriggan (1908), Londonderry (1910) and Kingscourt (1911).

Northern Banking Company Limited, Londonderry


In 1911, Breene was not present on Census Day.  However, his brother, John George Breene (20) is recorded as a Bank Clerk.  John was eventually to emigrate to USA where  he died in 1945.  A further son, Cyril had been born in 1903.
Further transfers followed to Cushendall (1912), Head Office (1912), Dungloe (1912) and Head Office (1914).

Breene was a member of Queens’ University Officer Training Corps (OTC) in 1915.  On 10th May 1915, Breene volunteered and enlisted into the 1st Bn. Royal Warwickshire Machine-Gun Corps as a 2nd Lieutenant.

This website records a diary entry that mentions the death of T F Breene.

"... At 9:10 am the 1st Royal Warwickshire Regiment, which had already experienced the front-line horrors of gas attacks in the last week of June, received orders to move up from its reserve position and towards the battle zone.  Just after 1:00pm, reports were received that British troops had been spotted in the German forward trenches, and a patrol belonging to the 1st RWR set off into No Man's Land under Lt R R Waters of 'A' Company.  Pinned down by machine-gun fire from Beaumont Hamel, the sortie was forced to withdraw having suffered a number of casualties, including the death of Lt T F Breene,  In the ranks, Gloucester born A/Cpl Albert Henry Boucher (No. 8609) had also fallen. ..."

Breene was killed in action on 1st July 1916.

He was awarded the British Victory Medal and the British War Medal and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

The Belfast News Letter of 7th July 1916 reports:



The Belfast News Letter dated 19th July 1916 reports:


The Belfast News Letter of 8th January 1917 reports:



Administration (with the Will) was granted at Belfast to Mary Breene, Married Woman.  Breene's effects were £31 16s 0d.



On ‘Ulster Day’, Saturday, 28th September 1912, Breene’s sister, Aileen Claire Breene signed the Women’s Ulster Declaration (Covenant) at All Saints School, Belfast.

A former official of Northern Bank, Peter Breene (PTSB) has kindly let me use two photographs of brothers of T F Breene.


Richard Simmons Breene and Harold (Hal) Breene


Richard was to become Chancellor Breene, rector of St Peters parish, Antrim Road, Belfast.

Hal was also a member of the Warwickshire Regiment.  He had been badly effected by gassing during the war and was never in good health afterwards.  He died aged 72 on board a ship to Madiera and was buried at sea.

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