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Saturday, 13 August 2016

Death Announced of WW2 Veteran - G E Larmour (Ted)

We regret to advise of the death of George Edward Larmour (Ted) on 10th August 2016 aged 95.

Ted was one of 4 surviving Northern Bank / Belfast Bank officials to have served in the Second World War.

The current survivors are:
  1. Brown, Robert George - aged 92 - 06/04/1924 
  2. Clarke, David Victor - aged 92 - 27/02/1924 
  3. Tweedie, Brian Morrison - aged 92 - 27/08/1923

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Hanna, Alexander (Lex)

Captain Alexander (Lex) Hanna
was born in Belfast on 15th December 1920.   The family lived in University Street, Belfast. He was of Church of Ireland faith.

On 1st May 1939 Hanna joined Northern Bank at Head Office.  In 1940 he was transferred to Windsor as Junior. 

He had joined the Territorial Army (Royal Regiment of Artillery) in 1938 and was ‘Called up on Active Service’ on 21st May 1941.   His unit was the 66th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment.   His rank and promotions as Lance Bombardier (unpaid), Lance Bombardier and Bombardier.   Further promotion came when he was gazetted from a cadet to be a 2nd Lieutenant on 4th June 1943 with Service Number 278219. 

Hanna was awarded the 1939-45 Star, the Italy Star, the Defence Medal and the War Medal for service during WWII. 

The picture below is of Hanna's actual miniature (dress) medal group (my thanks go to his daughter, Pauline for making them available).

See Medals awarded during WWII.
On 7th October 1946 he resumed duty with the Northern Bank at Head Office. Transfers followed to Ball’s Branch (1946), Head Office (1948), Ballymena (1948), Newtownbutler (1951), O’Connell Street (1955), Head Office (1964), Keady (1966) and Armagh (1969).

Northern Banking Company, Ballymena

On 16th April 1948 he was awarded a commission in the Territorial Army (TA). He was gazetted to be a Captain from 24th May 1948. Later he was placed on the TA Reserve of Officers on 21st May 1953.
Hanna retired as Manager of Armagh branch in 1983.

First published on 12th November 2012.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Thompson, Jackson Holmes

Sergeant Jackson Holmes Thompson
was born on 5th August 1904.

He was the son of Robert Thompson and Martha Walker Thompson.  In 1911 the family were living in house 149, Castlewellan, Co. Down.  Robert Thompson records his occupation as a Bank Manager. In 1901, Robert was a Cashier (Northern Bank) and living in Main Street, Bryansford, Co. Down.

On 1st April 1922 Jackson Thompson joined Northern Bank at Head Office.  His address is recorded as Northern Bank, Downpatrick.  He was of Church of Ireland faith.  

Transfers followed to Larne (1922), Downpatrick (1924), Head Office – Relief Staff (1924), Head Office – Foreign (1925), Portrush (1928), Head Office (1928), Antrim (1929), Windsor (1930) and Londonderry (1937).  

In 1939 the Bank gave him permission to join the 9th Anti-Aircraft Regiment, 3rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade, Royal Artillery.  On 2nd September he was ‘Called up on Active Service’ as a Gunner with promotions to Lance Sergeant and Sergeant following.  

He resumed duty with the Northern Bank at Head Office on 1st October 1945.  Transfers followed to Connswater (1945), Donegall Square (1951), Willowfield (1958) and High Street (1961).  

J H Thomson (sp) is mentioned in this newspaper article from 1966 re the opening of a new branch at 10 High Street, Belfast.

Thompson retired on 31st March 1967.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Stronge, James Desmond

Major James Desmond Stronge TD
was born on 25th September 1918.  His family were of Presbyterian faith.

He was educated in part at the Masonic School, Dublin.

On 7th April 1937 Stronge joined Northern Bank at Head Office.  His address at that time was 72 Deramore Avenue, Belfast.

Transfers followed to Lurgan (1937), Head Office (1941), Falls Road (1941), Carrickfergus (1941) and Head Office (1942).

Stronge was ‘Called up on Active Service’ on 2nd March 1943.  His rank and promotions are recorded as Gunner, Cadet, 2nd Lieutenant and Captain, Royal Irish Fusiliers with Service Number 327769.

He married Miss A E Quinn of Boyaghan, Irvinestown in November 1945.

On 10th February 1947 Stronge resumed duty with the Northern Bank at Head Office.  Transfers followed to Donegall Square – Relief Staff (1947), Newtownstewart (1953) and Portadown (1966).

Northern Banking Company, Donegall Square

Stronge carried on his army career in the Territorial Army (TA).  In 1958 he is recorded as being the second-in-command of the 5th Bn. Royal Irish Fusiliers with the rank of Major.

He received the Territorial Decoration (TD) in 1961.

Stronge is commemorated on the Masonic School Roll of Honour:

First published on 12th November 2012.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Irvine, Walter Frederick - WWII Service

Major Walter Frederick Irvine MBE

was born on 2nd June 1898.

Irvine joined Belfast Banking Company on 21st September 1914.

Following demobilisation from the Great War, Irvine returned to work for Belfast Bank.

See the Belfast Banking Company WWI section for his early career.

Irvine, Walter Frederick - Great War

As Irvine was a Lisburn resident, it is possible that he attended this service at the Lisburn War Memorial (temporary wooden one).

Over 110 members of the Lisburn British Legion branch attended the annual Remembrance Service in First Lisburn Church on Sunday, 13th November 1938.  Assembling at their Headquarters in Sackville Street, the ex-Servicemen were under the command of Captain W F Irvine, chairman.

Irvine saw service again in WWII as a Captain in the Royal Ulster Rifles before transferring to the Royal Irish Fusiliers on 30th April 1941.  On 20th July 1942, he transferred to the Pioneer Corps.  On 16th June 1945, Irvine relinquished his commission on grounds of disability.  He was then granted the honorary rank of Major.

Following his demobilisation after WWII, Irvine returned to work eventually ending up working in Accountants Department. He also worked in Central branch.

Retirement came on 1st December 1959.  He was appointed as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).

He died on 14th February 1984. 

Irvine is the only official to have served in both wars.

First published on 12th November 2012.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Nelson, Gerald Eric Pat Hartfell

Ordinary Seaman Gerald Eric Pat Hartfell Nelson
was born on 24th February 1919 of Carrowreagh, Dundonald.

His father was Eric Hartfell Nelson (15 - 1901 Irish Census living in house 10 Marlboro Park, Belfast).  His mother was Mary Frances (Florence) Nelson (nee Watson).

The family were of Church of Ireland faith.

Eric Nelson (father) appears to be mentioned in the Belfast Gazette of 30th September 1927 in an item regarding the "Estate of William Herbert Nelson and Eric Hartfell Nelson, Trustees of the Will of Horatio Nelson Dceased."

On 1st April 1937 Nelson joined Northern Bank at Head Office.  Transfers follow to Newtownstewart, Head Office, Coleraine and Head Office.

On 6th March 1941, Nelson was ‘Called up on Active Service’ on 16th February 1943 into the Royal Navy as a Rating.   However, on 21st June 1943 he was discharged from the Royal Navy owing to ill-health.

On 11th September 1944 he resumed duty with the Northern Bank at Head Office.  Transfers followed to Connswater (1944), Windsor (1946), Head Office (1951), Banbridge (1952), Claudy (1953), Head Office (1956), Portaferry (1956), Willowfield (1959), Crumlin Road (1963) and Windsor (1967).

[Northern Banking Company, Banbridge branch - 1906 by William Ferguson]

The Campbell College Register of Lennon Wylie records Nelson, Gerald Eric Pat (D), b. 24th February, 1919, son of E. H. Nelson, Old Comber Road, Dundonald, Belfast. V, July, 1936. Northern Bank Official. 1939-45 War: R.N. Address: Ardmore, Saintfield Road, Belfast. (M.)

Acknowledgements to lennonwylie.

'The Campbell College War Record 1939 - 1945' records Nelson as serving in the Royal Navy as an Ordinary Seaman.

Nelson retired on 31st March 1982 from Windsor branch.

The Staff Magazine ‘The Link (Summer 1982)’ contains an article and photograph of Nelson.

See Comments section below for a comment by Nelson's daughter, Gayda Shiells.

First published on 12th November 2012.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Neill, Sidney Kirk

Lt Col Sidney Kirk Neill OBE
was probably born around 1920.

He was the son of Francis Seymour Neill and Matilda Millar Neill of house 3, Chester Avenue, Templecorran, Whitehead (Tea buyer).  The house was known as 'Chesterfield'.  The 1911 Irish Census also records two brothers: Francis Robert (born circa 1903) and Joseph McFerran Neill (born circa 1906). 

Sidney probably joined the Belfast Banking Company around 1938 / 1939.  He served in Head Office, 2 Waring Street, Belfast.

Following the outbreak of war, Sidney Neill joined the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC).
The London Gazette (1941) records a Captain (temporary Major) S K Neill with Service Number 107098.

The London Gazette (18th February 1943) records Major (Temp Lt Col) S K Neill as being appointed to be Additional Officer of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE).  See Update below.

Francis Robert Neill is recorded by Belfast City Council as being buried in Roselawn Cemetery.  He was aged 67 when he died on 18th December 1969 and pre-deceased his wife, Evelyn Constance Kathleen Neill who died on 21st September 1991.  Francis' address was Flat C, 33 Windsor Park, Belfast.

Update 14th April 2016

Can anyone help with this query received today.  Email me at
Good afternoon,
I recently came across your website and found an entry for Lt Col S K Neill. ........  My father served under Col Neill in the Western Desert and at Tobruk.  Dad was an Ammunition Examiner and obviously impressed Col Neill who mentioned him several times in the War Diaries for Tobruk and wrote a very complimentary Testimonial for him after he was invalided out of the Army.  As I am now attempting to write an account of Dad’s military career, I am endeavouring to find sources of information and would like to find out if Col Neill kept a private Diary.

Update 31st August 2016

I received the following information from Dom Neill who is Lt. Col. Neill's grandson. He writes in relation to the commendation for the OBE:

“Lt.-Col. Neill, 8 B.A.D., Commanding 8 B.A.D. is also responsible for the protection of TURA Zone in 17 Area wherein lie the greater portion of the ammunition and technical reserves for the Army and R.A.F. in the Middle East.

He was called on to organise his various units into a defensive force against attack, sabotage and fire.

Col. Neill showed exceptional skill and devotion to duty in effecting these measures. On 25th July 1942 he displayed gallantry and leadership of a high order when an explosion occurred in a laboratory in an Ammunition Park. In spite of flying fragments of shell and constant exploding ammunition caused by a large fire he organised rescue and fire fighting parties with a complete disregard for his personal safety. By his efforts several men and much material were saved.”

signed 1st January 1943

by Lt. Gen. Robert Stone and Brigadier J. I. Chrystall, and others unknown.

First published on 12th November 2012.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Anderson, Paris Newton

Lieutenant Paris Newton Anderson
was born on 13th January 1920.

He was the son of A Newton Anderson of ‘Gezina’, 35 Downshire Road, Cregagh, Belfast.

The family were of Church of Ireland faith. 

Education was at Campbell College.  The LennonWylie website reports:

2585. *Anderson, Paris Newton (D), b. 13th January, 1920, son of A. Newton Anderson (239), Gezina, Downshire Road, Cregagh, Belfast.  L.VI, July, 1937.   Shaftesbury House Tutorial College, 1937-38; Q.U.B.: 1947-54. 1940-47: Lieut. (S), R.N.V.R.   Assistant Secretary to the Queen's University of Belfast. Address: 42 Bristow Park, Upper Malone, Belfast. (M.q.)

Anderson joined Northern Bank on 1st May 1939 at Head Office.  
Anderson later joined the Royal Navy Executing Branch and was called up on 26th August 1940 attaining the ranks of Temporary Pay Sub Lieutenant (RNVR) and then a Paymaster Lieutenant (RNVR). 
On 28th April 1947, he resumed duty from Active Service in Head Office.  A transfer to Donegall Square on Relief duty followed. 

Northern Banking Company, Donegall Square

Anderson resigned in 1947 to become the Assistant Secretary, Queen’s University, Belfast.

An election website records the following family members:

Commander Albert Wesley Anderson, son of Robert Newton Anderson (see below).  Born in Londonderry, 23rd July 1907.  Educated at Foyle College, Rydal School, and Nottingham University. Company Director. Commander in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.  Member of Londonderry City Council until 1969.  Lord Mayor of Londonderry (and ex officio Member of the Senate) from 1963 to 1968.  An Ulster Unionist member.  Member for City of Londonderry from the byelection of 16th May 1968 until the prorogation of the Parliament in 1972.  Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs from 26th October 1971 until 1972.  Died 1981.

Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Newton Anderson, director of a hosiery manufacturer.  Born 8th December 1871. Educated privately, and at Foyle College.  Member of Londonderry City Council.  Lord Mayor of Londonderry from 1915 to 1919.  Deputy Lieutenant for County Londonderry.  Member of the Irish Convention from 1917 to 1918. KBE 1918.  Member of Derry Bridge Commissioners.  An Ulster Unionist member.  Sat for Londonderry from the 1921 general election until the 1929 general
election, when he retired. PC (NI) 1927. Died 1937.

First published on 12th November 2012.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Blair, Thomas James

Flight Sergeant Thomas James Blair
was born in Coleraine on 17th November 1886.  He was the son of John and Martha Blair.  In 1901 the family were living in house 7, Ballintagh, Drumcroon.  He was of Church of Ireland faith.
He joined Northern Bank on 15th January 1903 at Head Office.   Transfers followed with Bray (1903), Londonderry (1906), Head Office (1909), Ballymena (1910), Dungloe (1912) and Head Office (1912).  

Northern Banking Company Limited, Londonderry

Northern Banking Company, Ballymena

By 1911, Blair is boarding in house 9, Clonavon Terrace, Ballymena, Co. Antrim.  He is described as an Accountant, Northern Bank. 
Blair was based in Head office when he enlisted on 11th September 1915 as a Private into the Royal Air Force or Royal Naval Air Service aged 28.

He served with Coastal Defence; Defence of London; British Expeditionary Force and was later promoted to Flight Sergeant.  Blair saw action at Messines 1917 and Ypres 1917.  He was demobilised in January 1919 and was awarded the British Victory Medal and the British War Medal. 
Following demobilisation, Blair rejoined the Northern Bank on 10th February 1919 when he was transferred to Shaftesbury Square.  In 1921 he was transferred to Strokestown and served there during the period of the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War. 
More transfers followed with Portadown (1928), Newry (1937) and Londonderry (1941).  He is recorded as applying for Dromore branch in 1923.  

He retired on 6th November 1946 and died on 25th June 1951 aged 64.

First published on 8th November 2012.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Blythe, Herbert John

Lieutenant Herbert John Blythe
was born in Downpatrick on 17th September 1887. 
He joined Northern Bank on 24th May 1904 at Head Office.   At that time his address was Northern Bank, Banbridge.  This may indicate his father was employed in Banbridge as manager.  The family were of Church of Ireland faith.  

Transfers followed with Newry (1904), Ballymena (1907), Grafton Street (1908), Head Office (1910) and Carrickfergus (1912).  

Northern Banking Company, Ballymena

In 1911, Blythe is living in house 54 Botanic Avenue, Cromac, Belfast with his mother, Elise Corinne Taylor and other children with surname of Taylor.  These are possibly step-brothers and sisters.  He is described as a Bank Official. 

On 30th November 1915, Blythe enlisted as a Trooper into the North Irish Horse aged 28.   He transferred into the Royal Irish Rifles, served with the British Expeditionary Force and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant with the R I R.   Blythe served with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force and was seconded into the Camel Corps.   He was promoted to Lieutenant.

Blythe saw action at Gaza; Heriera and Beersheba and Jericho (Jordan Valley).  

He was demobilised in July 1919 and was awarded the British Victory Medal and the British War Medal. 

Following demobilisation, Blythe rejoined the Northern Bank in Head Office on 1st August 1919. Transfers followed to Lurgan (1919), Grafton Street (1922) and Head Office (1930).   Whilst in Head Office he was promoted to Manager, Foreign Department (1930), Assistant Chief Cashier (1940) and Chief Cashier (1941). 

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

First published on 8th November 2012.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Malseed, Robert (Bobby) Campbell

Robert (Bobby) Campbell Malseed
was born in 1922.  

Bobby was the son of Henry Malseed, of the Belfast Bank, Belfast. 
He joined the Belfast Banking Company in May 1940 and started in Larne branch.

In 1941 Malseed volunteered and enlisted into the Army. 
Following demobilisation in 1946, he returned to work in Markets branch.  

Malseed was a member of the Belfast Banking Company Sports Club in March 1947 paying 5 shillings subscription.  

He also served in Magherafelt (1947), Ballymoney, Coleraine, Londonderry and Lurgan branches. 
A profile and picture was published in the staff magazine ‘The Link’ (Summer 1979). 

A rugby picture of Malseed was published in the staff magazine ‘The Link’ (Summer 1982). 
Malseed retired on 30th April 1985 with a picture being published in the staff magazine ‘The Link’ (Summer 1985). 

Mrs L V Malseed, the widow of R C Malseed attended the 2000 re-dedication ceremony of the Rolls of Honour.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Dolan, Francis William Temple

2nd Lieutenant Francis William Temple Dolan

was born on 23rd October 1911.

He was the son of Joseph Dolan and Blanche Temple Dolan.  The family were of Roman Catholic faith.

The head of the house is a Francis Dolan (49) and is wife is a (28).  Her mother, Emma Virginia Temple also lives in the house.  In 1911 the family were living in house 100, Ballygrot, Bangor.

On 1st February 1933 Dolan joined Northern Bank at Head Office.  Transfers followed to Shankill Road (1933), Falls Road (1935) and Ballynafeigh (1939).

Dolan was granted permission by the Bank to join the 3rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade, Royal Artillery and finished Bank work on the evening of 14th October 1939.  His starting rank was Gunner with promotions to Lance Bombardier, Bombardier, Officer Cadet and 2nd Lieutenant.  His address is recorded as 43 Adelaide Park, Belfast in the Nominal Rolls of the 23rd Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery, Royal Artillery.

I W Bratty served in the same battery.

On 21st November 1945 he resumed duty with Northern Bank at Head Office. Transfers followed to Royal Avenue (1955), Head Office (1957), Royal Avenue (1960) and Dundonald (1971).

Dolan retired from Dundonald on 23rd October 1976.

Articles and photographs of Dolan are in the staff magazine ‘The Link’ of Winter 1976 and Spring 1977.

He died on 19th January 1977.

First published 23rd October 2012

Friday, 22 January 2016

Unpublished Danske Bank Staff Magazine (Insight eZine) Article - April 2013

The current decade holds centenaries that are of huge importance to the people of Ireland both North and South. Amongst the commemorations are Titanic (2012), Ulster Covenant (2012), the Great War (2014 to 2018), the Easter Rising (2016) and the creation of Northern Ireland (2021).

The Great War is one event that affected the lives of many bank officials from all the banks in Ireland.  In 1914, our bank was actually two banking institutions; the Belfast Banking Company Limited and the Northern Banking Company Limited.  The Northern had branches all over Ireland whilst the Belfast had branches in the north of Ireland and Dublin.

War was declared in August 1914 and from then on, many young men of each bank together with some who were considerably older volunteered for active service.   It must be recognised that all were volunteers apart from one Northern messenger who was already an army reservist. Altogether, nearly 200 men left their banking roles and went off to war.  Before the war was over, 33 men were either killed in action, reported missing or had died on active service.  Many were wounded in action, some being injured 2 or 3 times.

Following the armistice in 1918, the remaining men were repatriated back to Ireland and back into banking life. Some decided on careers away from banking.

Memorials to the men who died or were reported missing were made.  With those memorials, Rolls of Honour were drafted recording the names of the men who served during the war.  These memorials were paper based and incorporated photographs of each official.

At the onset of the Second World War in 1939 and for the period to 1945, nearly 100 officials from both banks again volunteered for active service. 13 of these men were either killed in action or were reported missing.

Following the end of the war, each bank drafted and created memorials / rolls of honour and cast them in bronze.  They contained the names of the officials from each conflict in the style of surname and initials.

These memorials were installed in each Head Office; Waring Street (Belfast Banking Company) and Victoria Street (Northern Banking Company).  In due course, following the closure of each building, they were installed in their current location, outside the ‘Vault’ staff restaurant in the basement of Donegall Square West, Belfast.

Over two years ago, I decided that the time was right to try and identify all those officials named on the memorials.  I wanted to take away the anonymity that just a surname with initials gives.  Each name represents a former colleague and someone who also had family and descendants.  Some of those descendants may also have worked in the bank.

In all, I researched and drafted nearly 300 mini-biographies with associated articles, and whilst my initial idea had been to publish a book, it quickly became obvious that fresh details for each man can come to light very quickly and for the ease of updating, I decided on an external website.   Each mini-biography may contain information from a variety of public sources e.g.

· National Archives of Ireland – 1901 & 1911 Irish Census, Soldiers’ Wills

· The National Archives – Medal Index Cards

· Public Records Office for Northern Ireland – Ulster Covenant

· Commonwealth War Graves Commission

· London Gazette

· Belfast Newspaper Library – cuttings from the Belfast News Letter (courtesy of Nigel Henderson)

· The Link – staff magazine of Northern Bank

During my research, I wanted to bring the story up to date and include the mini-biographies of the 3 Northern Bank officials who were killed as a result of the Northern Ireland Conflict.

The website address is: or just Google ‘Northern Bank War Memorials’.  It has been running since November 2012 and has followers throughout the world.  Most pleasing has been when a descendant of one of the men contacts me and gives more information or photographs.  Please feel free to circulate this address to former colleagues.

Gavin Bamford

April 2013