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Monday, 4 February 2013

Purdon, Charles Vesey


Lieutenant Charles Vesey Purdon
was born in Londonderry on 15th April 1891.

He was the son of James Theodore Purdon and Charlotte Amelia Purdon.   James is recorded as a Bank Manager.   In 1901, the family were living in house 6, Quinsboro Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow.   The family were of Church of Ireland faith. 

On 11th May 1908, he joined Northern Bank at Head Office.   Transfers followed to Ball’s Branch (1908), Armagh (1911) and Grafton Street (1912).   By 1911, the family have moved to house 3, Athol Terrace, Bray, Co. Wicklow.   Charles is recorded as a Bank Official. 

Whilst based in Head Office, Purdon volunteered and enlisted on 20th November 1915 (aged 24) into the North Irish Horse as a Trooper.   He was gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 18th Bn. Royal Irish Rifles before joining the British Expeditionary Force.   Later he was posted to the 12th Bn. Royal Irish Rifles. Service was seen in St. Quentin 1918.

Purdon was injured once; a gunshot wound. 

The Belfast News Letter of 9th May 1918 reports:




Purdon was awarded the British Victory Medal and the British War Medal.  His correspondence address was 33 Wellington Road, Dublin.

The Belfast News Letter of 14th February 1919 reported a further promotion to Lieutenant





Following demobilisation in February 1919, Purdon rejoined the Northern Bank on 1st March 1919 at Grafton Street. Transfers followed to Ball’s Branch (1919), Bray (1925), Lisburn (1934), Newcastle (1937) and Castlewellan (1945).

A relative (see comments) advises that Purdon lived in Kilkeel until he died.


Knox, Robert Kyle (Junior)



Lieutenant Colonel Robert Kyle Knox (Junior) MC OBE
was born on 19th July 1899.  His address was Glenburn, Dunmurry.   He was of Irish Church faith. 

He was the son of Sam Wright Knox (32 in 1901, Bank Clerk) and Lacy Trace Knox.  In 1901, the family were living in house 11, Clifton Street, Belfast.   By 1911, Knox Junior was boarding in a school at Ulverton Road, Dalkey, Co. Dublin.  

In 1901 and 1911, there is an elderly Robert Kyle Knox (63 in 1901 and recorded as a Retired Bank Director) living in 1 College Gardens, Belfast.  R K Knox (Senior) is a former Chairman of Northern Bank. 

On 15th October 1914, Knox joined Northern Bank at Head Office.  

In the same month he volunteered and enlisted into the 10th Bn. Royal Irish Fusiliers as a Private.  Knox served with the British Expeditionary Force.  Following promotions through the ranks, he was gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant, Royal Irish Rifles.  He saw action at the Somme 1916, Cambrai 1917, St. Quentin 1918 and Ypres 1918.  On 28th March 1918, he was injured and suffered a gunshot wound to his left leg.  He narrowly escaped being taken prisoner in the late fighting.  

The Belfast News Letter of 18th January 1918 reports:





The Belfast News Letter of 4th April 1918 reports:





The Belfast News Letter of 10th July 1918 reports:





Demobilisation came in February 1919.  He was awarded the Military Cross (MC), the 1914/15 Star, the British Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

Following demobilisation, Knox rejoined the Northern Bank at Lisburn on 24th March 1919 as a ‘junior’. 

A transfer in May 1919 took him to Ball’s Branch until 11th January 1922 when he resigned. 

It is probable that he volunteered for further service at the start of WWII as the London Gazette records a 2nd Lieutenant R K Knox MC (with Service Number 146469) serving with the Intelligence Corps in 1940.  In 1943, he was recorded as a Major (Temporary Lieutenant Colonel).  

He was also awarded the OBE at some time between 1943 and 1946. 

On 17th October 1946, Knox was conferred with the USA military decoration, ‘Legion of Merit, Degree of Officer’ in recognition of distinguished services in the cause of the Allies.  The Legion of Merit is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. 




Military Cross (MC)



 Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
[the military version of the ribbon has an additional white vertical line]




Legion of Merit (Officer)


McCrum, Robert Cowan


Lieutenant Robert Cowan McCrum
was born on 31st May 1892.  He was the son of Elizabeth McCrum.  In 1901 the family lived in house 8, Kilgreel, Craigarogan, Antrim.
McCrum joined Northern Bank on 2nd May 1910 at Head Office.  Transfers followed with Keady (1910), Ramelton (1911) and Londonderry (1912).  In 1911 he was boarding in house 2, Crossmore, Co. Armagh.  He was of Presbyterian faith. 

Northern Banking Company Limited, Londonderry

Whilst based in Londonderry, McCrum aged 23, volunteered and enlisted on 15th December 1915 into the Cadet Company, 19th Bn. RIR as a Private.  He was Gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant and posted to the 19th Bn. RIR.  He joined the British Expeditionary Force, was then posted to the 10th Bn. Royal Irish Rifles, then transferring to the 1st Bn. Royal Irish Rifles as a Lieutenant.  Service was seen in Messines 1917, Ypres 1917, St. Quentin 1918 and the Allied Advance 1918.  McCrum was injured once with a gunshot wound. 

The Belfast News Letter of 27th August 1917 reports:



Demobilisation came in January 1919.  He was awarded the British Victory Medal and the British War Medal. 
On 25 October 1921, a Temporary Lieutenant R C McCrum was gazetted and retained the rank of Lieutenant in the Royal Ulster Rifles. 
Following demobilisation, McCrum rejoined the Northern Bank on 22nd February 1919 at Londonderry.  Transfers followed to Omagh (1932) and Kilrea (1941). 

Alan McCrum, a descendent of R C McCrum attended the 2000 re-dedication ceremony of the Rolls of Honour.

Quail, Hugh Herbert


2nd Lieutenant Hugh Herbert Ormsby Quail
was born in 1897.

He was the son of Hugh Alexander Quail and Josephine Quail.   In 1901 the family were living in house 15, Clontivrin, Clonkeelan, Co. Fermanagh.   The father is recorded as a Bank Cashier probably with the Bank of Ireland.   By 1911 the family have moved to house 47.2 High Street, Portadown, Co. Armagh.   His father is described this time as a Bank Official.

On 28th September 1912, a Hugh Quail signed the Ulster Covenant at Armagh giving his address as 4 Barrack Street, Armagh.

Quail would have joined the Belfast Banking Company around 1914 working in Markets.

Quail served with the 10th Bn. Royal Irish Rifles and attained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.

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

The Belfast News Letter of 15th August 1917 reports:








MacGregor, Robert Peddle



Acting Captain Robert Peddle MacGregor MC
was born in Greenock, Scotland on 1st March 1884.  He was the eldest son of G G MacGregor, Lisburn Post Master.

On 7th September 1903, MacGregor joined Northern Bank at Head Office.  In 1911, MacGregor is living in house 25, Antrim Road, Lisburn, Co. Antrim.   He is recorded as a Bank Clerk and is living with his widowed mother Helen, 2 brothers, 5 daughters and a visitor.  The surname is recorded as McGregor.  He was of Presbyterian faith.

MacGregor was a member of Lisnagarvey Hockey Club.

Transfers followed to Head Office – Relief (1913) and Donegall Square (1913).


Northern Banking Company, Donegall Square


MacGregor, aged 31, was serving in Donegall Square branch when he volunteered and enlisted into the 17th Bn. RIR on 6th March 1915.  He served with the 19th Bn. RIR, joined the British Expeditionary Force and was then posted to the 9th Bn. RIR.   He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, then to Lieutenant in June 1916 and to Acting Captain in October 1916.

The Belfast News Letter of 13th November 1916 reports:




The Belfast News Letter of 27th November 1916 reports:




MacGregor saw action at Messines on 7th June 1917.

The Belfast News Letter of 11th June 1917 reports:




He was injured and suffered a gunshot wound to the neck, shoulder and left lung.  MacGregor was invalided out in April 1919.  The Belfast News Letter of 5th April 1919 reports:




The London Gazette of 1st April 1919 reports McGregor (sp) relinquishing his commission on grounds of ill-health caused by wounds, 4th April 1919 and retains the rank of Lieutenant.

He was awarded the Military Cross (MC), the British Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

Following demobilisation, MacGregor obtained a position in the Ministry of Labour on 1st April 1919.

On 1st May 1920, he rejoined the Bank in the Coupon Department.  Transfers followed with Royal Avenue (1921), Head Office (1927), Shaftesbury Square (1929) and Head Office – Manager (1934).

On 1st February 1945 he was appointed as a Director of Northern Bank.

Here is MacGregor's signature on a Northern Bank cheque from 1963:




[Image courtesy of an eBay advertisement]


MacGregor died on 10th July 1978.

He is also remembered on a memorial in Railway Street Presbyterian Church.  Also remembered is his brother Cadet G G MacGregor (known as Gregor).


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.

Hogarth, Herbert Plunket



Corporal Herbert Plunket Hogarth
was born in 1895 in Newcastle upon Tyne.  He was the son of Herbert Hogarth and Mrs Annie Plunket Hogarth.

At one stage, he lived in Harrow, Middlesex.

The 1901 Irish Census records Plunket living in house 9, Straheglin, Belturbet, Co. Cavan with his grandfather, James H Mahaffy JP.  

By 1911, the family are recorded as living in house 29.1 Antrim Road, Clifton Ward, Belfast.  Plunkett describes his occupation as a Bank Clerk. 
Educated at the Belfast Royal Academy, Hogarth joined the Belfast Banking Company and served in Western and Portadown branches.
Hogarth volunteered and enlisted into the army as a Private with Service Number 75307. 
He was serving with 7th Signal Company, Royal Engineers as a Despatch Rider with the rank of Corporal when he was killed in action on 13th May 1917.  Hogarth is buried in the Vraucourt Copse Cemetery, Vaulx-Vraucourt, Pas De Calais, France. 

The Belfast News Letter of 30th May 1917 reports:







Hogarth was awarded the 1915 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.


Hamilton, John





[Ballymena Weekly Telegraph - August 1916 - courtesy of Great War Belfast Clippings]


[Fermanagh Times - January 1917 - courtesy of Great War Belfast Clippings]



2nd Lieutenant John Hamilton
was born on 20th February 1886.  

The 1901 Irish Census records James Hamilton (60) and Lily Hamilton (41 - nee McCracken) as his parents.  There are two other sons, Wm S (13) and Janus B (5) together with a sister, Margaret (17).  

The family address is house 15, Ballyrobin, Stranocum.  

This address would also be known as Woodview, Stranocum, Ballymoney. 

Probably around 1906, Hamilton joined the Belfast Banking Company and served in Ballyshannon and Coleraine branches.


Belfast Banking Company, Ballyshannon branch





Belfast Banking Company, Coleraine branch


The 1911 Irish Census records John as boarding in house 19, Cabra Park, Phibsborough, Glasnevin, Dublin.  His occupation is recorded as Bank Clerk.


[Thanks to Nigel Henderson for identifying the Irish Censi records]

Later, he enlisted and served with the 12h Bn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 

Promotion to Lance Serjeant followed with Service Number 14748.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website records one John Hamilton having the rank of 2nd Lieutenant and serving in the 11th Bn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers who died on 1st July 1916. 

The Belfast News Letter of 9th May 1917 reports:




John Hamilton is commemorated on the Theipval Memorial.  Hamilton is mentioned in ‘Bushmills Hero’s 1914 - 1918’ by Robert Thompson, Coleraine, published privately, 1999.  

The same picture appeared in the Belfast Evening Telegraph, Ballymoney Weekly Telegraph and the Fermanagh Times in addition to the Belfast Banking Company War Memorial.

John is remembered on the 36th Ulster Memorial website and in Carncullagh Presbyterian Church.

The 36thulster.com website records an excellent obituary for John Hamilton.  The text and a further photograph are copied below:
John had been a leading sportsman in the years before the 1st World War and was prominent in athletics as well as being a member of Bann Rowing Club.  He rowed number two in Jack Lowry’s senior four in 1913.  He was a son of Mr John Hamilton, of Woodview, Stranocum, and before enlisting worked in the Belfast Bank in Coleraine.  He enlisted on the outbreak of hostil- ities, joining the Royal Inniskilling Fusilieers.  At first, training took place at Finner Camp, in County Donegall, starting on 20th September 1914. 
Finner Camp had originally been used to provide training facilities for soldiers during the Boer War and was known locally as the Boer War Camp.  Much progress was made in the early stages as the men had already been in training for other reasons.  In early January the battalion marched to the hutted camp at Shanes Castle, near Randalstown, and remained there.  In February John Hamilton was sent on a course of instruction to Chelsea Barracks and received his  commission on 19th April.  On the evening of Wednesday 7th July 1915 they embarked at Dublin on their way to Bramshott, in Surrey. Much intensive training now took place and on 5th October they sailed for France.  At Folkestone they embarked on the St. Oriel trans- port vessel and arrived at Boulougne at 3.00am.  They immediately marched to Ostrohove rest camp and remained there all next day.  Soon after this they were moved up to the area close to the front to help with trench digging and for more training.  On the 1st of July, as the attack began at 7.30am and the 11th battalion left their trenches, they were immediately hit by machine-gun fire and rifle fire.  John was with Captain Myles as they crossed No Man’s Land and it was after they had left the sunken road and were approaching the Crucifix that Capt Myles was injured. John then took command of the Company and led them on towards the German positions.  It was as they approached the German wire and were searching for a way through that John was hit in the neck by machine-gun fire.  He was reported missing. Much later, and long after the news that he was missing had reached home, his sister Margaret applied for a court order presuming his death in action. 
A letter from the Chaplain, the Rev J.J.Wright of Ballyshannon, told how 2nd Lieut Hamilton had been struck by a bullet in the left side of the neck and killed.  The Judge granted the application.
Three other young Ballymoney men serving with the 11th battalion were killed on this day.  Samuel McClelland is buried in the nearby Mill Road Cemetery.  John Reid of Finvoy, and Alex Kirkpatrick, both killed as they attacked the Schwaben Redoubt, were never seen again. 



See Comments section below for further commentary from a couple of relatives.

Goldsmith, Sydney Mansfield



Lieutenant Sydney Mansfield Goldsmith
was born in Ballynahinch on 27th February 1897.

He is the son of Sydney Howard Goldsmith and Mary Goldsmith.  In 1901 the family are living in house 3, Ballynahinch Street, Hillsborough.  The father is described as a Bank Manager.  By 1911 the property is known as house 7, Ballynahinch Street, Hillsborough.  Another son, William Arthur Loftus Goldsmith is described as a Bank Clerk. 

On ‘Ulster Day’, Saturday, 28th September 1912, Goldsmith’s mother (M) and sister (M E) signed the Women’s Ulster Declaration (Covenant) at Hillsborough.
Part of his education was in Trinity College, Dublin. 

Goldsmith was a member of Lisnagarvey Hockey Club.

Goldsmith joined Northern Bank in 1914. 
He was based in Dromore branch when he enlisted into the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment.  He served with the British Expeditionary Force and then transferred into the RAF eventually being promoted to 2nd Lieutenant.  Goldsmith saw action in Arras 1917, Ypres 1917 and Cambrai 1917.  He received a gunshot wound.  His Army Number may have been PI 14281 or PS/6331.
The Belfast News Letter of 23rd April 1917 reports:


In late 1918, Goldsmith transferred to the Central Flying School, Upavon.  In November 1918, he was promoted to Lieutenant.
Demobilisation came in May 1919.  His war record documents describe this event as 'Trans(ferred) unemployed list 4/5/19'. 

Goldsmith was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the British Victory Medal and the British War Medal. 

The National Archives records a Medal Index Card for S M Goldsmith here:

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D2360068

19th Royal Fusiliers; PS/6111; Private

The London Gazette records his career as 2nd Lieutenant (1916), Acting Pilot Officer – RAF with Service Number 76060 (1939), Pilot Officer (1940), Flight Lieutenant and Squadron Leader (1944). He relinquished his commission in 1954 and was permitted to retain the rank of Wing Commander. He may also have been awarded an OBE.
On 20th February 1945 a Canadian Patent was issued for an ‘Aircraft Pilot Training Apparatus’.  The inventors are named as George Edmund Hill and S M Goldsmith. 

Morrison, Samuel McGowan


2nd Lieutenant Samuel McGowan Morrison
was born in 1899. 

He was the second son of William Morrison and Elsie Morrison.  In 1911 the family are living in house 1, Cyprus Park, Pottinger Ward, Belfast. 
Morrison would have joined the Belfast Banking Company around 1916 and worked in Head Office.
Morrison served with the 14th Bn. Cheshire Regiment attaining the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. 

The Belfast News Letter of 31st March 1917 reports:




The Belfast Banking Company 'Roll of Honour' booklet records Morrison as being 'wounded in action'.

 

Houston, Thomas


Lieutenant Thomas Houston MC
was born on 26th February 1894.  

His parents are unknown. 

There has been some confusion with an Ulster Bank official also called Thomas Houston whose family lived in house 27, Cyprus Gardens, Pottinger, Belfast.  Reference the 1901 and 1911 Irish Census.
On 6th September 1911, Houston joined Northern Bank at Head Office.  Transfers followed to Raphoe (1911), Lurgan (1913) and Head Office (1916). 
On 25th April 1916, Houston volunteered and enlisted into the Cadet Company, Royal Irish Fusiliers as a Private.  His unit is also recorded as the ‘Artists Rifles’.  He served with the British Expeditionary Force.  He was gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant 10th Bn. Royal Irish Fusiliers and then posted to the 1st Bn. Royal Irish Fusiliers. 

The Belfast News Letter of 31st March 1917 reports:




Houston was later promoted to Lieutenant.  Houston saw action with the Allied Advances 1918.  He was injured and suffered a gunshot wound to the neck.  

The Belfast News Letter of 21st September 1918 reports:




The Belfast News Letter of 11th November 1918 reports the awarding of the Miliatry Cross (MC):




Demobilisation came in October 1919. 

Houston was awarded the Military Cross (MC), the British Victory Medal and the British War Medal. 
Following his demobilisation, Houston rejoined the Northern Bank on 10th November 1919 at Head Office.  He stayed in Head Office until 1925 when he was transferred to Grafton Street.  Transfers followed to Kells (1935) and Limavady (1943). 
A photograph is available – Belfast Evening Telegraph, 23 Cyprus Gardens, Belfast – awarded the Military Cross.