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Friday, 9 August 2019

White, Louis McKelvey

Major Louis McKelvey White
was born on 2nd May 1911 at Bridge Street, Cootehill, Co. Cavan to William John White (solicitors apprentice) and Margaret Eleanor White nee Shimmons.  The family were of Presbyterian faith.  

William and Margaret had married on 10th July 1894 at Newry Parish Church, Co. Down.

In 1911 (census day was 2nd April) William and Margaret lived at house 18 Bridge Street, Cootehill with their 2 sons Edwin and Geoffrey.  

Another brother, Tom and a sister Eve lived with their grandfather, William White at  6 College Square, Camlough.

Louis was born 1 month later on 2nd May 1911. 

Louis was educated at the Masonic School, Richview, Dublin where he excelled at sport becoming captain of rugby and cricket.  He was orphaned at the age of 17 whilst at school.

Michael White continues his story:

".... He was befriended by a man called Raymond Brooke, of the Brookeborough family, a Grand Master in the Masons and Managing Director of a wine importing company in Dublin.  My father must have gone to stay with him in Sligo after leaving school when his mother died and prior to joining the Bank. ..... After arriving in Belfast to join the Bank, I believe he lived with his married sister Eva on the Upper Newtownards Road. .... Louis did mention to me at one time that had he pursued it, he could have had a career in the wine industry, but never mentioned Mr. Brooke.  I have Brooke's name from an inscription in a book which he gave to my father, "as a memento of the game against B.R.A." Signed-- R.F. Brooke, and a little bit of "Googling" revealed the above information. ...."

On 17th July 1929, White was living in 'Gibraltar Cottage', Sligo when he joined Northern Bank at Head Office.  

Whilst in Belfast, he played for the North of Ireland Rugby Football Club. 

Transfers followed to Antrim Road (1932) and Head Office (1935). 
White joined the 3rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade and was ‘Called up on Active Service’ on 24th August 1939 into the 8th Anti-Aircraft Regiment. 

He married Connie on 6th October 1939, just 1 month after war was declared.  As was the custom (bank rules) at the time, it is probable that as a junior and not earning very much, Louis would have had to request permission from the bank Director's to get married.  Presumably the start of the war helped his case.

His rank and promotions were Bombardier, Lance Sergeant, Sergeant, 2nd Lieutenant, Lieutenant and Captain.  His Service Number (Officer) was 163000. 

White served at Dunkirk and in India and Burma from 1942 to the end of the war.

8th Belfast HAA Regiment, Royal Artillery - probably around 1945. 

Acknowledgements to lennonwylie

Michael White was born in 1943 and was educated at Coleraine Inst when his father was based in Portrush branch.
White resumed duty with the Northern Bank on 15th November 1945 at Head Office.  Transfers followed to Donegall Square (1945), Portrush (1956), Markets (1962) and High Street (1967).  

Northern Banking Company, Donegall Square

A newspaper advertisement in the Belfast Telegraph dated 7th December 1970 advise readers that the Northern Bank, Belfast Bank branch, Castle Place, Belfast has closed and the business merged with the branch at 10 High Street, Belfast.  The joint managers are Mr L McK White and Mr J F McIlmoyle.

Merger of 17 Castle Place with 10 High Street, Belfast

He continued his Army career in the Territorial Army rising to the rank of Major.  Retirement from the Army came on 9th December 1961 having exceeded the age limit. 

Louis retired on ill-heath grounds in 1971.  In 1972, he and Connie joined their son, Michael and his wife in Auckland, New Zealand.

Louis is remembered on his school roll of honour:

Masonic Boys School, Dublin - Roll of Honour

The Staff Magazine ‘The Link (Winter 1972)’ contains a photograph of White. 
Connie died on 10th August 1980 and Louis on 27th January 1982.  They are both buried in Auckland, New Zealand.
Acknowledgements to Louis White's son, Michael for additional information.