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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.