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Sunday, 25 August 2019

Tait, Hugh James



Cadet Hugh James Tait (or Tate)

was born on 30th May 1898 at Knock, the son of James Tate, schoolteacher and Bella Tate nee McGowan.  The birth registration spells the family surname as Tate.  

Bella died aged 41 from influenza and acute pneumonia on 11th December 1898 at Knock.

In 1901, Hugh is living in house 40, Knock Road, Pottinger Ward, Belfast with his grandfather Hugh William, his grandmother Mary, his father and a servant Catherine McQuade.

In 1902 the house has been named by the owners as Belgrave Villa, Knock.  

By 1911 the property is known as house 35, Knock Road, Pottinger Ward, Co. Down.  Hugh is living there with his father James, a house keeper Margaret Todd and a boarder Henry Huber.  The family surname is now recorded as Tait.

On Ulster Day, 28th September 1912, Hugh signed the Ulster Covenant at the Old Town Hall, Belfast giving his address as Belgrave Villa, Knock, Belfast. 

James Tait died from acute appendicitis on 23rd January 1914 at Belgrave Villa, Knock, Belfast.

Hugh would have joined the Belfast Banking Company around 1914 and worked in Head Office. An uncle, Robert Moore signed the necessary insurance security from Bankers Guarantee Trust for Hugh.  

In September 1914 Hugh enlisted into the 8th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles with Service Number 8/13705 as a Private.  His first theatre of war is recorded as France from 5th October 1915.



Medal Index Card - H J Tait


The Bank 'Roll of Honour' booklet records his rank as a Cadet serving with the 17th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.



Belfast Banking Company 'Roll of Honour' Booklet


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

Hugh was awarded the 1915 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  The Medal Roll records Hugh Tait as a Rifleman serving with 8th Royal Irish Rifles, 8th/9th Royal Irish Rifles and 15th Royal Irish Rifles.



Medal Roll - Hugh Tait


In 1922 Hugh went to court, Belfast Equity Sessions in a dispute over his fathers house and his uncle & aunt who Hugh had asked to stay in the house whilst he was overseas.  The Moore's were the executors for Hugh's fathers will.  The court instructed the Moore's to leave the property 



Belfast News Letter, 12th April 1922


A Hugh J Tate, 49, died on 3rd December 1947 and is buried in Belfast City Cemetery, Glenalina Extension.  Anna Elizabeth Tate lies in the same grave plot.  She died aged 60 on 5th August 1960.  Their address at date of death was 275 Shore Road, Belfast.


It is probable that the family home is now numbered as 64 Knock Road, Belfast and is described in the ‘Environmental Statement of the A55 Knock Road Widening Scheme’ published by the DRD in 2009:


“Belgrave Villa is a three-bay two-storey house, dated late Victorian circa 1900.  The house has a pitched roof with smooth rendered painted chimney, cast-iron rainwater goods and timber painted facia-board; smooth rendered painted walling with projecting rendered painted plinth; bow-fronted windows to ground floor with one-over-one sliding sash windows and stone painted sills; square-headed sliding-sash windows to first floor with moulded decorative architrave.  It has a round-headed glazed doorway with timber panelled painted door and moulded decorative side columns with relieving square-headed arch.  The house is accessed directly from Knock Road by means of concrete steps and a wrought iron painted gate.  This house is very well maintained and retains several original features including sliding sash windows, rainwater goods and doorway.  Of modest dimensions and architectural aesthetics, the house is deemed to be of local importance.”