Second Lieutenant Norman Reay


Norman Reay was born on 19 March 1892 at 128 Old Park Avenue, Belfast, fourth of five children of English-born shipping clerk Isaac Reay and his wife Jane (nee Sutton). Norman's father died when he was just 8 years old. By 1911 he was living with his mother and three siblings at 20 Easton Crescent, Belfast, and working as a clerk in the Harbour Office.

Reay enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 1 October 1914 (No.1240 – later Corps of Hussars No.71295). On 1 May 1915 he embarked for France with D Squadron, which was then serving as divisional cavalry to the 51st Division. In May 1916 D Squadron joined with A and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment. The regiment served as corps cavalry to VII Corps, XIX Corps, then V Corps.

During 1917 Reay applied for a commission and was sent to the UK for officer cadet training. He was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant on 27 March 1918 and posted to the Royal Irish Regiment. Two months later he was attached to the Machine Gun Corps.

After the war Reay moved to England. He was appointed to the post of Minor Staff Clerk in the Finance Department, Ministry of Transport, on 16 July 1920. His career in the civil service was long and successful, rising to the rank of Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance. In 1955 he was awarded an OBE in the Civil List in the Queen's Birthday Honours. He died in Leeds in 1970.


Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph 31 May 1924