THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Ulster people named on King’s Birthday Honours

From the News Letter, June 9, 1938

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 6:00 am
King George VI (1895-1952) and Queen Elizabeth (1900-2002) attend a garden party at the Château de Bagatelle in the Bois de Boulogne, during their State Visit to Paris, France, July 1938. On the right is French President Albert François Lebrun (1871-1950). The Queen is wearing a dress from the White Wardrobe designed for her by Norman Hartnell to mark the death of her mother, the Countess of Strathmore. Picture: Photo by Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The King’s first Birthday Honours List had been issued late the previous night reported the News Letter on this day in 1938. The list contained 987 names including a number of honours for people from Northern Ireland.

Mr George C G Young, MBE, MP of Braidwater, Ballymena, was to be sworn on to His Majesty’s Privy Coumcil for Northern Ireland. Mr Young was the youngest son of the late Right Honourable John Young of Galgorm Castle, Ballymena, and was educated at Gracehill Academy, Co Antrim, and Shrewsbury School before entering the linen business.

Of Mr Young the News Letter noted: “A staunch Unionist and Orangeman, he served with the Ulster Volunteers during the Home Rule Crisis, being Commander of the 1st Battalion the North Antrim Regiment. Later he joined the Special Constabulary and became District Commandant of B Specials No 6 District County Antrim. He was made a member of the Order of the British Empire for his public services, and for some years has been the Unionist member for Bannside in the Ulster House of Commons. One of his brothers is Brigadier-General H G Young, DSO, Sergeant-at-Arms to the House of Commons.”

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Mr F H Kerr, who received an OBE, was Principal Auditor in the Northern Ireland Exchequer and Audit Department. He joined the Civil Service in 1901, when we was appointed a Second Division Clerk in the War Office. Subsequently he transferred to the Army Accounts Department and then the Army Audit Office in Dublin under the late Mr J Hugget, CBE, who became the first Comptroller and Auditor-General for Northern Ireland.

Of Mr Kerr the News Letter reported: “Mr Kerr obtained a transfer from the Imperial Civil Service to the Northern Ireland Civil Service in 1922, and was appointed Senior Auditor on the staff of the Comptroller and Auditor-General. He is an old pupil of Methodist College, Belfast, and played for the team which won the Ulster Rugby Schools Cup in 1899.”

Meanwhile, Miss Jean Wilson, who received the MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours, was the younger daughter of Mrs Wilson, of Willowbank Gardens, Belfast, and of the late Mr William Wilson, Cliftonville.

The News Letter reported of Miss Wilson: “In 1928 she was appointed member the staff of the Duke Abercorn, KG, MP, Governor of Northern Ireland, as confidential clerk and private secretary to the Duchess of Abercorn. Previously she was shorthand typist in the Ministry of Finance. She received the King V Silver Jubilee Medal and the Coronation Medal of King George VI.”

Meanwhile, Mr Gerald Brown, was appointed an MBE, was Editor of Debates in the Parliament of Northern Ireland. He began his journalistic career on the staff of the Belfast News Letter and for many years was chief reporter.

The News Letter noted of Mr Browne: “He was actively engaged in the anti-Home Rule campaign that preceded the Great War, and was appointed by the Ulster Unionist Council to repor the private meetings and conferences at which vital decisions were made under the direction Lord Carson and Lord Craigavon. He was formerly an official shorthand writer to the Local Government Board for Ireland and to the Belfast Bankruptcy Court. On the formation of the Northern Parliament he was appointed Editor of Debates. For a long period was active member of the Ulster District of the Institute of Journalists, in which he held the office of honorary treasurer, and he Past Master of the Press Masonic Lodge, No 132.”