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Tuesday, 22 January 2019

U.V.F. Patriotic Fund

U.V.F. Patriotic Fund

By the early part of 1916 the Ulster Volunteer Force (U.V.F.) command were realising that injured soldiers returning home and their families together with the families of deceased soldiers would need financial assistance.

The Command based at the Old Town Hall, Victoria Street created a U.V.F. Patriotic Fund and advertised for funds in local papers during May 1916.

The first list of subscribers was published in a Belfast Newsletter advertisement / appeal.

It must be noted that the Belfast Banking Company, Northern Banking Company and the Ulster Banking Company each donated £300 to the fund.  This equates to £18, 244 as at 21st January 2019.

A Mr J R Bristow donated £25 (£1,520 as at 21st January 2019).  He may have been related to the Bristow's who were senior directors of the Northern Banking Company.



[Newspaper image courtesy of John McCormick]


Monday, 14 January 2019

Mathers, Willoughby Catherwood



2nd Lieutenant Willoughby Catherwood Mathers
was born on 29th November 1894 at Mourne View, Ballynahinch, Co. Down to John Mathers (School-teacher) and Letitia Mathers nee Adams.  

In 1901 Willoughby lived in house 11, Ballymaglare North, Ballynahinch, Co. Down with his parents and sister Kathleen.  

By 1911 Kathleen had left the family home. 
Willoughby would have joined the Belfast Banking Company around 1912 and served in Derry, Limavady and Bushmills branches.




[Belfast Banking Company, Londonderry branch - 1918]



[Belfast Banking Company, Limavady branch - 1918]



[Belfast Banking Company, Bushmills branch - 1918]


Willoughby enlisted into the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) with Service Number 2173 and attained the rank of Lance Corporal according to the Belfast Banking Company photograph on their Roll of Honour.  The Medal Index Card (below) records his rank as Corporal.  It also indicates that he was commissioned into the Regular Army with Service Number 265626.

His first theatre of war is recorded as France from 2nd May 1915. 



The Belfast Banking Company 'Roll of Honour' booklet records Mathers as being a Corporal in the Black Watch.  He is also described as 'previously wounded' with his last known address as 'in France'.

As an officer Willoughby applied for his medals on 10th August 1922.  He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.






The London Gazette Supplement dated 28th April 1919 records Willoughby Mathers (Black Watch) being promoted from Cadet to 2nd Lieutenant in the Regular Forces on 11th March 1919.

The London Gazette Supplement dated 24th February 1922 records W Mathers (Black Watch) being promoted from Temporary 2nd Lieutenant to 2nd Lieutenant.

Following his leaving the Regular Army, Mathers returned to work. 
Mathers is recorded in the 1956 annual accounts of the Belfast Banking Company as being manager of Bushmills branch. 

Retirement came in 1957.
Mrs J E A Mathers, the widow of W C Mathers attended the 2000 re-dedication ceremony of the Rolls of Honour.

Picken, Paul Hartley



2nd Lieutenant Paul Hartley Picken
was born on 20th March 1894 at Oldcastle, the son of Edward Picken (Draper) and Frances Margaret Picken nee Hartley.

In 1901 Paul was living in house 124, Oldcastle, Oldcastle, Co. Meath with his parents and 5 siblings, Helen, Catherine, James, Edward and Frederick.

In 1911 Paul was living in house 108, Oldcastle, Oldcastle, Co. Meath with his father and 3 siblings, Katherine, James and Frederick.  His occupation is described as a Bank Clerk.  

Paul would have joined the Belfast Banking Company around 1911 and worked in Enniskillen and Markets branches.




[Belfast Banking Company, Enniskillen branch - 1918]




[Belfast Banking Company, Markets (Victoria Street) branch - 1918]


Paul enlisted into the 12th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and attained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. 



His first theatre of war is recorded as France from 4th March 1917.

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

As an officer Paul had to apply for his war service medals.  He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.




John Eadie, a descendant of Picken has provided the following additional information:


Via Ancestry.com


"Hi!  Paul Hartley Picken married my great aunt Louie Kells (aged 17 in 1911) in Oldcastle, Co. Meath, Ireland and resided in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada for many years, working as an Accountant.  He died on the 21st June 1970 in Deer Lodge Hospital, in Winnipeg and is buried in Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg in a military grave."
John Eadie (cjeadie@shaw.ca)

Friday, 11 January 2019

White, Gerald



Private Gerald White
was born on 16th May 1896 at The Mills, Limavady, Co. Londonderry to John White, Mill Manager and Maria White nee Wallace.  

In 1901 Gerald is living in house 2, Mill Row, Limavady, Co. Londonderry with his parents and 2 siblings, Jack and Wallace.  

John White died on 5th December 1907 at Killane, Drumachose from heart disease.

By 1911 Gerald has moved to house 29, Kennaught, Limavady, Co. Londonderry with his mother and brother Wallace.  
White would have joined the Belfast Banking Company around 1914 working in Head Office.




[Belfast Banking Company, Head Office, 2 Waring Street, Belfast - 1918]


White served as a Private with the Machine Gun Corps (Tanks). 
It was not possible to identify Gerald within army records.

A 'G White' is recorded in the 1956 annual accounts of the Belfast Banking Company as being manager of Londonderry branch. 




[Belfast Banking Company, Shipquay Street, Londonderry - 1918]

Retirement came in 1957 and he died on 14th September 1966.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Wright, William Martin



Captain William Martin Wright
was born on 23rd April 1884 and was the son of the Rev. William Wright and Charlotte McWilliams Wright nee Robinson of The Manse, Newtownards, Co. Down.  

In 1901 William is living in house 3, Corporation South, Newtownards, Co. Down with his parents and 6 siblings, Hannah D, Charlotte M, Archibald R, Richard P, Alfred I and Matthew I.

William was educated at Campbell College, Belfast.  The Lennonwylie website records:

319. Wright, William Martin, b. 23rd. April, 1884, son of Rev. Wm. Wright, M.A., D.D., Newtownards. Brother of 317, 318, 846 and 1241. L.V., July, 1899.  Scholar.  Solicitors' Final, 1910.  Assistant Solicitor, Belfast Banking Co., 1910-14.  Great War: Capt., R. Irish Rifles. Adj., 13th Bn. Severely wounded. Partner, McKinty & Wright, Solicitors, Belfast.  Hon. Solicitor, British Legion for 32 years.  Chairman, Newtownards Branch, British Legion for 30 years;  President, 2 years.  Died 16th Nov., 1952. (M.)

Allowing for study and law examinations, Wright may have joined the Belfast Banking Company around 1906.  He was the bank Assistant Solicitor from 1910 to 1914.

By 1911, they have moved to house 21, Circular Street, Newtownards, Co. Down.  Wright’s occupation is described as a Bank Solicitor. 
Wright served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and attained the rank of Lieutenant, then becoming Captain and Adjutant.  He also served with the 6th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers and teh Labour Corps.

His first theatre of war is recorded as France from September 1915.




He was severely wounded on 29th June 1916.  The Belfast Banking Company 'Roll of Honour' booklet records Wright as having been 'previously wounded' with his last known address as 'Salonika'.

Following demobilisation, Wright may not have returned to the Belfast Bank.  He became a partner in McKinty and Wright, Belfast.

As an officer, William had to apply for his medals.  He applied on 24th April 1922 and was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  His address at that time is recorded as 82 Royal Avenue, Belfast.




Wright also became involved in the Royal British Legion, becoming their Hon. Solicitor for 32 years, Chairman of the Newtownards branch for 30 years and President for 2 years.

He died on 16th November 1952.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Taylor, Robert Graham



Corporal Robert Graham Taylor

was born on 5th August 1893 and was the son of Henry Taylor and Sarah Taylor nee Graham.  The birth was registered in the Kilrea sub-district of Coleraine district.

In 1901 and 1911, the family lived in house 15, Drumane, Hervey Hill, Co. Londonderry. 
Taylor joined the Belfast Banking Company on 24th April 1911 working in North City, Dublin and Ballymena.  Other addresses associated with Taylor are Reastown, Kilrea and Rose Park, Rasharkin.




[Belfast Banking Company, North City, Dublin branch - 1918]




[Belfast Banking Company, Ballymena branch - 1918]


Robert enlisted into the South Irish Horse with Service Number 1190 and later attained the rank of Acting Corporal.

His first theatre of war is recorded as France from 14th April 1915.





Robert later transferred to the Military Mounted Police with Service Number P/4818.
The Belfast Banking Company 'Roll of Honour' booklet records Robert as having been 'previously wounded' with his last known address 'in France'.

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



On demobilisation, Robert G Taylor returned to work for the Belfast Banking Company eventually rising to be the Managing Director.

Taylor retired on 30th November 1962 as Managing Director and continued on as a Director.

Death Announced of WW2 Veteran - B M Tweedie

We regret to advise of the death of Brian Morrison Tweedie on 17th July 2016 aged 92.

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

The only surviving WW2 participant to the best of my knowledge (*) is:

Clarke, David Victor - aged 93 -  27/02/1924


(*)  Northern Bank records only.

Tweedie, Brian Morrison

Brian Morrison Tweedie



was born on 27th August 1923 and was of Church of Ireland faith. 
On 13th April 1942 Tweedie joined Northern Bank at Head Office.  His address at that time was 32 Old Cavehill Road, Belfast.  

Transfers to Irvinestown – Relief (1942) and Secretary's Room, Head Office (1942) followed. 

In January 1943 he applied to the bank to be permitted to join the Royal Navy.

A formal resignation from the bank came in a letter dated 15th July 1946 to the bank from Tweedie indicating he was going to Queens' University.

Brian died in 2016.

The following obituary appeared in the British Dental Journal published 31st January 2017 and written by P S D Henderson.

Brian was brought up on Skegoneill Avenue in North Belfast.  He attended the local primary school and went on to RBAI (Royal Belfast Academical Institution), where he played in the 1942 Schools' Cup Rugby Final.  During the second world war, Brian's family were evacuated to Rathfriland where he had many cherished memories of living with the Fegan family.
On leaving school, Brian joined the Northern Bank and was posted to Irvinestown.  In 1943 he joined the Royal Navy and served on three landing ships, HMS Princess Astrid, HMS Eastway, and HMS Boxer.
Brian told the story of how his ship picked up a German U-Boat on radar, which they successfully torpedoed only to discover they had torpedoed a whale!
Brian was demobbed in 1946 and commenced his studies for dentistry at Queens University Belfast.  Unfortunately, Brian contracted tuberculosis in the Navy and spent two years in hospital, qualifying from Queens in 1953.
Brian set up a very successful practice in Rathcoole and became a very active member of the Northern Ireland branch of the BDA.  Brian served as Secretary, Branch President (1983) and was Trustee of the Benevolent Fund for many years serving on the Executive Committee.
Brian was elected to the International College of Dentists for services to dentistry, was awarded Life Membership of BDA in 1990 and was elected a Fellow of the BDA in 1998.  He was involved in the establishment of a general practice training unit in the School of Dentistry and worked part-time in a teaching post there.
Brian was a very keen golfer and an active member of Greenisland Golf Club where he was Captain in 1969 and was President for the club's centenary year – 1994.
Brian was a longstanding member of St. Peter's Parish Church where he served in many capacities. Brian, with his Navy background was called on every year to lay a wreath on Remembrance Sunday.
Brian is survived by his wife (of nearly 60 years), Heather, son, Philip and daughters, Jenny, Caroline and Susie.

Stewart, James Crawford



Lieutenant James Crawford Stewart
was born between January to March 1893 to Samuel Stewart (Clerk) and Isabella Crawford Stewart nee Crawford.  

Samuel Stewart (Clerk) and Isabella Crawford were married on 19th November 1889 under special licence in the house of the bride at Rosnagalla House, Glendermot and registered in the Strabane register.  The marriage was registered a second time in the Londonderry register.

In 1901, Isabella and her son, James were living with her parents (Crawford) and 2 sisters and 1 brother in house 2, Rossnagillagh, Glendermot, Co. Londonderry.  James (8) is described as a scholar.  James' sister Jeannie E also lived in the property.  There were also 4 servants.

In 1911, Isabella is residing in house 6, Claredon Street, Londonderry.  This later was known as 11 Clarendon Street, Londonderry,  There is no mention of James in this home on Census day. 
Stewart would have joined the Belfast Banking Company around 1911 working in Head Office.




[Belfast Banking Company, Head Office, 2 Waring Street, Belfast - 1918]


The 1911 Irish Census records a Londonderry man, James Stewart (18) boarding in house 34, Eblana Street, Cromac, Belfast.  His occupation is recorded as Bank Clerk.

James enlisted into the Royal Irish Rifles with Service Number 40921.  His first theatre of war is recorded as France from December 1916.

He later transferred to the Royal Field Artillery.  The London Gazette of 11th February 1918 reports Stewart as being promoted from Officer Cadet to 2nd Lieutenant.  He was later promoted to Lieutenant.

As an officer, James had to apply for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  This he did on 22nd April 1923.






His Medal Index Card records his address as PO Box 2, Te Pulmy, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.

Stirling, Thomas



Lieutenant Thomas Stirling
was born on 23rd July 1895 at 44a or 440 Govan Road, Govan, Scotland to Thomas Stirling (Senior - Night Watchman) and Annie Stirling nee Colvin.  

Thomas (Senior) and Annie had been married on 7th September 1891 in the District of Govan.

In 1901 the family are living in the Govan area of Scotland.

In 1911 the family are living in house 6, Liswatty Lower, Knockantern, Co. Londonderry.  His brother William (19) occupation is described as a farmer's son.  William and Thomas' (15) birthplace are recorded as Scotland.
Stirling would have joined the Belfast Banking Company around 1913 and worked in Newry and Head Office.




[Belfast Banking Company, Newry branch - 1918]



[Belfast Banking Company, Head Office - 1918]


Stirling served with the 20th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and attained the rank of Lieutenant. 
The Forces War Record database records a 2nd Lieutenant T Stirling of the Royal Irish Rifles as being wounded on 8th September 1917.

It also records a promotion to Temp Lieutenant for a T Stirling with seniority from 7th January 1918 whilst serving with the 15th (Service) Battalion (North Belfast) Royal Irish Rifles.

It also records a Temp Lt T Stirling as being Mentioned in Dispatches in the London Gazette (Issue 431442 page 8709) dated 8th July 1919. 

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



PRONI records a Thomas Stirling of Liswatty, Cloyfin, Coleraine, County Londonderry farmer died 11 September 1941 Probate Belfast 4 March to William Charles Acheson and Finlay Sinclair farmers. Effects £466 13s. 4d.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Shearer, Frank



Lance Corporal Frank Shearer
was born at 49 Bryson Street, Belfast on 1st September 1884 to Adam Shearer, Labourer and Sarah Shearer nee Ramsey.

In 1901 Francis lived in house 35 Ballycarry Street, Clifton Ward, Belfast with his parents and 5 siblings:  John, Jane, Adam, Isabella and Sarah.  Francis is now known as Frank and his occupation is recorded as an Assistant Clothpasser.

In 1911 Frank is living in house 30 Ballyclare Street, Clifton Ward, Belfast with his parents, sister Jane Millar and her 2 children John and Isabella.  Frank's occupation is now a Hotel Servant / Boot.

Frank joined the Belfast Banking Company between 1911 and 1914.

On 7th September 1914 Francis enlisted into the 5th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers with Service Number 12473.  His first theatre of war is recorded as the Balkans from 12th July 1915.




He later transferred to the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment with Service Number 4215 and attained the rank of Lance Corporal.

On 16th March 1917 after 1 week with the Field Force was hospitalised on board Hospital Ship Warilda.  His ailment being described as 'dilusional, insanity'.  He was under treatment for 7 days before being transferred to a 'sick convoy' on 22nd March 1917.





Shearer was discharged from the army on 22nd February 1918 for reason 'No Longer ...".

L/Cpl 4215 Francis Shearer was awarded the Silver War Badge (number 319352) due to sickness.  He was aged 32.  The War Badge records say he had served overseas.





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





A Pension Record card exists for Francis Shearer with entries from 1922 to 1930.  His address was recorded as 8 Ghent Street, Belfast.  His illness recorded as 'mental instability'.





It is not known if Frank Shearer returned to work for the Belfast Banking Company.

Please leave a comment if you know anything of this official.