Oliver, John Chapman (No. 7012565)

Oliver, John Chapman (Jack)


No. 7012565, 1st (Airborne) Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles

Killed in action on Wednesday 7 June 1944 (aged 31)


Ranville War Cemetery, Calvados, France (Grave IVA. O. 8)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Bangor and District War Memorial

Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s)


John Chapman (Jack) Oliver was born on 16 April 1913 in Church Street, Bangor and he was the only son of John and Sarah Jane Oliver (formerly Niblock, nee Orr) who were married on 30 August 1906 in Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church.  John Oliver, a sailor from Bangor, who was born on 20 May 1876, was a son of James Oliver, a labourer.  Sarah Jane Niblock (nee Orr), a widow from Bangor, was a daughter of John Orr, a miner.

The Oliver family lived at 70 Church Street, Bangor.

Sarah Orr’s first husband, William Niblock, was also a sailor.  Sarah Orr and William Niblock were married on 16 April 1888 in Shore Street Presbyterian Church, Donaghadee and they had five children:

Mary Ann (born 4 January 1889; on 6 October 1913 Mary Ann Niblock married William Chapman Peters who survived the sinking of the Titanic on 15 April 1912, and the sinking of the Lusitania on 7 May 1915)

Eleanor Jane (born 8 September 1890; died of measles 16 May 1894 aged 3)

William (born 12 October 1892)

Eleanor Jane (born 4 December 1894)

Edward (born 8 January 1897)

William Niblock Senior died of chronic cystitis on 20 November 1898 (aged 35) and Sarah Jane worked as a charwoman.

The Niblock family lived in Railwayview Street, Bangor.

John and Sarah Oliver (formerly Niblock, nee Orr) had three children, all of whom were baptised in Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church Bangor:

Margaret (born 16 May 1907 in Abbey Street, Bangor)

Anna Doreen (Doreen, born 21 August 1909 at 28 Church Street, Bangor; married James McQuillan)

John Chapman (born 16 April 1913 in Church Street, Bangor)

John Chapman Oliver’s father, who was known locally as The Admiral, had served in the Royal Navy for a period of 21 years that included the First World War and he held medals from both the Russian and Boxer campaigns.

John Oliver died on 28 July 1938 (aged 61) and Sarah Oliver died on 2 October 1939 (aged 67).

The marriage between John Chapman (Jack) Oliver and Frances Nest Lewis was registered in the fourth quarter of 1941 in Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire, Wales.  During the Second World War, Rifleman Jack Oliver served with the 1st (Airborne) Battalion of the Royal Ulster Rifles attached to the Intelligence Section and he was killed by enemy gunfire as he parachuted into action at Arnhem on 7 June 1944. Jack Oliver had served in the Army for twelve years including four in India and one in China.  Death notices referred to his sister Margaret, who was single and lived at 70 Church Street, Bangor, and to his sister Doreen McQuillan who lived at 4 Clandeboye Place, Bangor.

Family tributes included the verses:

Divided hands will clasp again

We loved him in life; let us not forget him in death

Jack Oliver’s wife Frances and their young daughter, Margaret Hannah Marie Oliver, lived in Abergwili, Carmarthenshire, South Wales.

Margaret Hannah Marie Oliver was baptised in Bangor Abbey Church of Ireland Church on 30 April 1943.

The sons of James and Doreen McQuillan of 4 Clandeboye Place were also baptised in Bangor Abbey: John Chapman (Jackie) McQuillan on 1 June 1943 and Noel McQuillan on 15 January 1947.

Jackie McQuillan became a steeplejack and worked on the spires of both Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s) and Bangor Abbey.

Rifleman John Chapman Oliver (No. 7012565) was 31 when he died, and he was buried in Ranville War Cemetery, Calvados, France.  There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:





Rifleman John Chapman Oliver (No. 7012565) is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial and in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s).