Rea, Vivian Trevor Tighe

Rea, Vivian Trevor Tighe (Vivian)

Lieutenant

4th Battalion attached 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Died of wounds on Sunday 25 October 1914 (aged 23)

Buried:

Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, France (Grave IX. G. 6)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Bangor and District War Memorial

Royal British Legion (Bangor Branch) Memorial Plaque

Comrades of the Great War (Bangor Branch) Album in North Down Museum

Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour

North of Ireland Cricket Club Memorial Plaque (includes those members of the Club who played Rugby Football)

Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Comgall’s) Memorial Plaque

Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Comgall’s) Stained Glass Window

Campbell College Belfast

Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) War Memorial

Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) Book of Remembrance

Trinity College, Dublin

BIOGRAPHY

Vivian Trevor Tighe Rea was born on 17 August 1891 in Mendoza, Argentina and he was the only son of Henry Tighe Rea and Clare Rea (nee Small).  Henry Tighe Rea worked as a steamship broker in the Lagan Navigation Company and he was Vice-Consul in Belfast for the Netherlands and Argentina.  Henry and Clare Rea had five children:

Vivian Trevor Tighe (born 17 August 1891 in Mendoza, Argentina)

Violet (born around 1892/1893 in Argentina)

Winifred (born around 1895/1896 in Argentina)

Constance May (born 1897; died of sarcoma on 13 April 1898 at 9 Rosemount Gardens, Belfast aged 8 months)

Ivy Kathleen Muriel Vere (born 27 March 1899 in Ballycloughan, Belfast; accidentally drowned 31 May 1911 aged 12)

The Rea family lived in Belfast at addresses including 9 Rosemount Gardens and Ballycloughan; then in Bangor at addresses including 30 Ballyholme Road, Rathowen and Ivy Lodge before moving to 1 Glandore Park, Belfast.

Vivian Rea was educated at Campbell College between 1905 and 1908 and before the war he was Scoutmaster of the Bangor Troop of Boy Scouts.  He had a distinguished University career gaining his BA (Honours) degree at Queen’s University Belfast (Logic, Metaphysics and History of Philosophy) and, subsequently, further honours at Trinity College Dublin.  He won the Theological Society medal for Oratory.  Vivian Rea qualified at Trinity College for Holy Orders (Church of Ireland) subject to his confirmatory examination in October 1914.  Circumstances prevented him from ever sitting that examination.  He played rugby for the North of Ireland Football Club.

Vivian Rea joined the 4th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 1911, he was commissioned in 1912 and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 1913.  He was posted to the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles on 10 October 1914 in France where his fluent French was a useful asset.  Just two weeks after going to France Lieutenant Rea was severely wounded in the trenches at Neuve Chapelle and was taken to a chateau at one end of the village where he lapsed into unconsciousness and died on 25 October 1915.  Lieutenant Vivian Rea was 23 when he died and, after nightfall his body was interred in the grounds of the chateau.  The following day the chateau was reduced to ruins by enemy fire.  On 12 January 1921, human remains were found, exhumed and subsequently identified to be those of Lieutenant Vivian Rea.

Lieutenant Vivian Rea was buried in Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, France and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:

I HAVE FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT

Lieutenant Vivian Rea is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial; on a subsidiary memorial plaque in the Royal British Legion (Bangor Branch); in the Comrades of the Great War (Bangor Branch) Album in North Down Museum (Page 66); in the Belfast Book of Honour (Page 547); on the North of Ireland Cricket Club Memorial Plaque; in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Comgall’s) on the Memorial Plaque and also on a Stained Glass Window; in Campbell College Belfast (he was the first Campbellian to be killed in the Great War); on the Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) War Memorial; in the Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) Book of Remembrance (Page 46) and in Trinity College, Dublin.

[The North of Ireland Football Club (members played Rugby Football as opposed to Soccer) was founded by members of the North of Ireland Cricket Club and the North of Ireland Cricket Club Memorial Plaque commemorates members of both Clubs.  Members of the Football Club were also members of the Cricket Club but not all members of the Cricket Club were members of the Football Club.]

On 20 November 1915 a stained glass memorial window in Bangor Parish Church was unveiled in memory of Vivian Rea.  One hundred men and six officers from the 4th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles attended the service.  In the upper lights of the window there are two scenes with figures dressed in mediaeval style.  In the left light there is a man sowing by hand, with the text:

Behold there went out a Sower to sow

In the right light, there is a Knight, his foot crushing a dragon, with a castle in the background.

The lower half of the window depicts in the left light a peaceful scene of a cornfield at harvest with a rising sun in the background and in the right light a First World War battlefield is depicted, with three soldiers standing in a trench while another soldier lies dead.  The text is:

I have fought the good fight

Vivian Trevor Tighe Rea is also commemorated on the family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor.

His mother Clare died on 26 May 1922 (aged 58) and his father Henry died on 22 April 1936 (aged 78).