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Monday, 4 February 2013

Byers, Thomas

Capt Thomas Byers MC

was born on 19th April 1894.  

He was the son of James T. Byers (Law Clerk (*)) and Bessie Byers (*).  In 1901, the family lived in house 14, Earlswood Road, Belfast.  By 1911 the family property is described as house 168, Earlswood Road, Belfast.  The house was known as 'Dewsbury'.  Thomas’ occupation is that of Bank Clerk. 

In 1920, the property was numbered 144 (#).

Known as Tommy, he probably joined the Belfast Banking Company in 1911 when he was 16 and worked in Central branch (Donegall Square North).

On 28th September 1912, Byers signed the Ulster Covenant at Sydenham Methodist Church, Belfast.

In 1916, Lance Corporal Byers was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant with the 9th Bn. Black Watch (Royal Highlanders). 

The National Archives records a Medal Index Card as follows:

Royal Highlanders, 2122, Private
Royal Highlanders, Lieutenant
Royal Highlanders, Captain

The Belfast Banking Company 'Roll of Honour' booklet reports Byers as having been 'previously wounded' with his last known address as 'in France'.

The Belfast News Letter of 7th June 1917 reports:

The Belfast News letter dated 7th July 1917 reported:

On 18th July 1917, the London Gazette reported that Byers had been awarded the Military Cross.

His citation reads

“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.  He was the only officer of the company for five days.  He carried out his duties under most trying conditions and shell and machine gun fire, with great skill and endurance.  His example and ability kept the men in hand and their spirits up at a very trying time.”

The Belfast News Letter of 19th July1917 reports:

The Belfast News Letter of 15th December 1917 reports:

Promotion to Captain came in 1917.

Following the war, Byers emigrated to Canada.

Tommy Byers died on 20th July 1976 and was cremated in Mission, British Columbia, Canada,

[Death certificate - courtesy of Dave Donatelli]

Thanks to Dave Donatelli, Canada for supplying the photographs.

(*)  Bessie Byers died in 1925 aged 60 and is buried in Dundonald Cemetery, Belfast.  James T Byers died in 1941 aged 84 and is buried with his wife.   Their last address was 2 Downshire Park, Bangor.

(#)  A brother, James Thomas Byers (born 1891) died in 1920 and is buried in Cemetery Cemetry, Belfast.  His last address was 144 Earlswood Road, Belfast.


  1. Greetings: My name is Dave Donatelli and I knew Thomas Byers back in 1976 as he was a resident of our rest home in Mission BC Canada. Tommy was a very nice man and he lives until he was 93 or 94. During WW1 he had received a photo album for Christmas 1915. As WW1 continued Tommy had collected and shot photos during the war. His photo album has 57 pages of images taken from 1909 through to 1919. Most of the images have names and are dated. Before Tommy passed away he gave me his most cherished possession his photo album that has 300 photos in it. The photo album has some amazing images and I have taken great pride in taking care of this photo album ever since Tommy gave it to me. When I came across the photo on your web site tonight I couldn't believe that I was seeing Tommy's photo. I have most of the same news paper clippings on the front page of the photo album as you have on your web site. I am not sure if I had been to your web site before or not. If so I just might have told you about Tommy Byers in a previous Email on your web site. I have many photos of Tommy in the album and also many photos of his family and friends. I hope that this is of interest to you folks. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to see images from the photo album that Tommy put together. Thank you for your time Dave Donatelli

    1. Hi Don, thank you for your kind comments re this mini-biography. I would be very interested to add to the detail here with any scans or copies that you send me, particularly a photo of him in his uniform or with any bank colleagues? Thanks again, Gavin

      My e-mail address is


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