Lieutenant Theophilus James Elliott Forde



Theophilus James Elliott Forde was born at Hilltown, County Down, on 19 May 1890, son of the Reverend Robert Forde and his wife Elizabeth Jane (nee Elliott). Educated at St Andrew's College, Dublin and Campbell College, Belfast, on the outbreak of war he was working as a bank clerk in Dublin.

On 24 January 1916 he enlisted in the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps (No.9107). On 20 November 1916 he applied for a commission and was sent to No.2 Cavalry Cadet Squadron at Kildare. He was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant on 1 May 1917 and posted to the 2nd Reserve Regiment of Cavalry at the Curragh. He transferred to the North Irish Horse in July 1917. 

Forde joined the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment in France on 1 March 1918 but was then sent to the Machine Gun Base Depot before being posted to the 42nd Division's Machine Gun Battalion on 16 March.  In mid-September he was sent home, sick, and on recovery rejoined the North Irish Horse at Antrim. On 18 October 1918 he was promoted to lieutenant.

He was demobilised on 25 March 1919 and relinquished his commission on 1 April 1920.

Forde became chairman of the Northern Bank and was awarded a CBE in the Queen's New Years Honours List of 1956. On that occasion the Belfast News-Letter reported:

Mr. James Elliott Forde, who lives at Wellington Park, Belfast, receives the C.B.E. for public service in Ulster. He is chairman of the Northern Bank, Ltd., the only bank with its head office in Northern Ireland entirely controlled by Ulstermen. ...

He is a son of the late Rev. Robert Forde, Rural Dean, former rector of Dundrum, Co. Down, and was educated at Campbell College, Belfast. During the first world war he served as a lieutenant with the North Irish Horse and the Machine Gun Corps.

Mr. Forde is a past chairman of the Industrial Finance Company (Northern Ireland), Ltd., and treasurer of the Belfast Savings Bank. He is a past president of the Institute of Bankers in Ireland, a past chairman of the Northern Ireland Bankers Association and a member of the Belfast Chamber of Commerce. He is chairman of the Save the Children Fund (Northern Ireland) and honorary treasurer of a number of public and charitable associations.


This image is from the Belfast Bank Great War Roll of Honour pictorial record, held in the Northern Bank Head Office, Donegall Square West, Belfast. It is sourced from Gavin Bamford's site honouring the officials of the Northern Bank and Belfast Bank who served during the two World Wars and in more recent conflicts.