Rea, Herbert Finlay

Rea, Herbert Finlay (Herbert)


No. 2509, 6th Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), commissioned to

14th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Killed in action on Thursday 16 August 1917 (aged 26)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium (Panel 138 to 140 & 162 to 162A & 163A)


Herbert Finlay Rea was born on 19 February 1891 in South Parade, Belfast and he was a son of John and Sarah (Sara) Rea (nee Finlay) who were married on 23 May 1887 in Newtownbreda Presbyterian Church, Belfast.  John Rea, a widower, was a son of John Rea, a farmer.  Sarah Finlay, a spinster, was a daughter of William Finlay, a merchant.

The Rea family lived in South Parade, Belfast and in Annadale Avenue, Belfast.

John Rea was a provision merchant and he and Sarah had at least seven children:

George Frederick (born 23 April 1888 in Daisyfield Villa, Belfast)

John William (born 20 October 1889 in Daisyfield Villa, Belfast)

Herbert Finlay (born 19 February 1891 in South Parade, Belfast)

Stanley C (born 23 December 1892)

Norman Kerr (born 1 May 1895)

Robert H (born 3 March 1898)

Norah Louise (born 2 June 1901 at Dalzien, Annadale Avenue, Belfast)

John Rea had previously been married to Elizabeth Mary Hayes.  They were married on 26 December 1876 in Belfast and they had at least three children:

Elizabeth (born 2 November 1877 at 30 Ann Street, Belfast)

Thomas James (born 2 March 1881 at 30 Ann Street, Belfast)

Edith Davis (born 21 March 1883 at 52 South Parade, Belfast)

Elizabeth Mary Rea (nee Hayes) died on 18 May 1885 (aged 30).

Prior to the outbreak of the Great War Herbert Finlay Rea worked as an accountant.  He enlisted on 10 November 1914 and joined the 6th Battalion Black Watch (No. 2509) from which he obtained a commission on 9 January 1916 in the 14th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.  In March 1916 he went to France.

Lieutenant Herbert Finlay Rea was 26 when he was killed in action on 16 August 1917 at the Battle of Langemarck.  Initially he was reported as missing believed killed, based on statements from survivors of the battle.  Acting Captain Rea had led his company over the top and they suffered heavy losses.  He was last seen lying severely wounded in a shell-hole about 100 yards from the German lines.

Herbert Finlay Rea had made his will on 26 February 1916 and in April 1918 Mr Justice O’Connor made an order in Dublin granting George and Norman Rea leave to presume the death of their brother, Herbert Finlay Rea, on 16 August 1917.

Lieutenant Herbert Finlay Rea has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium.  At the time of Herbert’s death the Rea family was living in Dufferin Villas, Ballyholme, Bangor.