Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
ff
   Chaplain Rev Richard Ussher Greer
Save as PDF
Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 21/10/2018
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: Army Chaplains Department (British Army)
Date Of Birth: 29/07/1868
Died: 23/06/1915 (Died of Illness)
Age: 46
Summary      
Richard Ussher Greer was born on 29 July 1868 at Riverside, County Tyrone. Richard was the son of the Reverend William Henry and Charlotte Pike. Rev Greer was Rector of Kilcoleman and Crossboyle, County Mayo. Richard was educated at the Royal School Armagh and then the Royal School Dungannon and Trinity College Dublin (1887-93). In 1911 he was appointed Rector of Seapatrick Parish Church, Banbridge. Rev. Greer secured a chaplaincy with the 8th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (East Belfast Volunteers). While Rev Greer was on a leave of absence from there, that he suffered a brain hemorrhage at home and died suddenly on 23 June 1915.
Chaplain Rev Richard Ussher Greer
Further Information
Richard Ussher Greer was born on 29 July 1868 at Riverside, County Tyrone. Richard was the son of the Reverend William Henry Greer T.C.D. M.A and Charlotte Pike. Rev Greer was Rector of Kilcoleman and Crossboyle, County Mayo. Richard was christened on 13 Sep 1868 in Headford, Galway.
Richard was educated at the Royal School Armagh and then the Royal School Dungannon. He entered Trinity College Dublin in 1887, taking his B.A. in 1890/91 and continuing to his Master of Arts (M.A.) in 1893.
Following his ordination, he spent some time as a curate in Belfast and after a bout of ill health, he moved to Carrickfergus.
He later returned to Belfast and became Rector of Saint Michael's where the congregation nearly quadrupled under his leadership.
Richard Ussher Greer married Elizabeth Lindsay Greer, daughter of Frederick Greer and Cecilia Staples, of Tullylagan Demesne, County Tyrone, on 28 April 1898.
Family: Richard Ussher Greer; Elizabeth Lindsay/Lauder Greer; Ussher Macgregor Greer (born 8 Jun 1899), (died 4 Jan 1962); Rt. Rev. William Derrick Lindsay Greer (born 28 Feb 1902), (died 30 Oct 1972); Margaret Cecilia Lindsay Greer (born 21 Mar 1905); Monica Elizabeth Greer (born 27 Feb 1907).
Richard Ussher Greer moved to Christ Church Lisburn around 1902.
In 1911 he was appointed Rector of Seapatrick Parish Church, Banbridge, Co Down. He was the Rector there between 1911 and 1915 at Banbridge, County Down, Ireland.
Following the declaration of war in 1914 and the announcement on the 3rd September by Sir Edward Carson of the formation of the 36th (Ulster) Division, the Rev. Greer immediately secured a chaplaincy with the 8th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (East Belfast Volunteers). The 8th Battalion, along with the 9th, 10th and 15th Battalions, Royal Irish Rifles formed the 107th Infantry Brigade.
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 3rd March 1915:
Rev R Ussher Greer, the newly appointed chaplain, is one of the best known clergymen in the diocese of Down. He was formerly rector of St Michael's, Belfast, subsequently of Christ Church, Lisburn, and in 1911, on the removal of Canon Grierson to the Deanery of Belfast, was appointed rector of Seapatrick, Banbridge.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 13th March 1915:
The Rev R Ussher Greer, M.A., rector of Seapatrick (Banbridge), who has been appointed one of the chaplains of the Ulster Division about to go to the front, is well-known in this district in which he has many friends, and which might almost claim him. His mother was the daughter of the late Richard Pike, of Beechgrove, Dungannon, and he, himself, is married to the eldest daughter of the late Mr Frederick Greer, J.P., of Tullylagan, and granddaughter of the late Sir N A Staples, Bart, Lissan. Mr Greer’s father was Rev W H Greer, rector of Kilcolman and Crossboyne. He was educated at Trinity College, and was ordained for the curacy of Carrickfergus. His first parish was Lisburn, and recently he was elected rector of Banbridge. He has a reputation in the church for earnestness and sustained energy with which he performs his duties. He is one of the most promising of the younger clergy, and his appointment to such important parishes as Lisburn and Banbridge shows the confidence of the nominators in his ability. In the Orange Institution he is a prominent member, and holds high office in masonry. He is also an ardent apostle of temperance, and threw himself whole-heartedly into the Pal movement in 1910. He has taken an active part in the Unionist cause, and his appointment as chaplain to the Ulster Army is in every way appropriate. During the eleven years of his rectorship of Christ Church, Lisburn, he gained for himself a host of friends. He was broad minded, kind and sympathetic, and ever ready to offer a helping hand to anyone in trouble. His departure caused the greatest regret.
The 8th Battalion were initially trained at Ballykinlar Camp on the County Down Coast, and it was while the Rev Greer was on a leave of absence from there, that he suffered a brain haemorrhage at home and died suddenly on 23 June 1915.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 26th June 1915: Deaths
GREER – 23 June (suddenly), at Seapatrick Rectory, Banbridge, the Rev R Ussher Greer. M.A., Chaplain to His Majesty’s Forces.
At his funeral he was given full military honours, his coffin was originally carried from the old Seapatrick Rectory by members of the Orange and Black Institutions. He had for a long time, been associated with both institutions, being chaplain to the local Seapatrick Orange lodges, Banbridge Bible and Crown Defenders LOL 423 and also Chaplain to Mount Nebo RBP 53. In fact, he was so well liked that following his death. A Woman's Orange Lodge was formed in his honour called “The Greer Memorial WLOL41”. This lodge is still in existence today and meets monthly in Banbridge Orange Hall under his photograph. His portrait in full military uniform graced the LOL 423 lodge banner and it was only recently that a new banner was dedicated that depicts St Patrick's Village Church, Seapatrick.
Members of the Royal Irish constabulary along with 100 soldiers of the 8th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles formed the guard of honour at his funeral and his sons Ussher Macgregor Greer and William Derrick Lindsay Greer walked behind the coffin. On arrival at the parish church, four fellow officers carried his coffin in. The Reverend C C Manning, a Chaplain to the Forces, conducted the funeral service. The Reverend D R Mitchell BA, the Presbyterian Chaplain to 107th Infantry Brigade read a special lesson. Canon Peacock gave the address. At the conclusion of the service, the regimental band of the 8th Battalion played the Death March and the Last Post as the casket left the church. The cortege then left for a private family burial in Newmills Church of Ireland churchyard in County Tyrone.
From the Tyrone Courier dated 1st July 1915. Death of Rev R Ussher Greer
We regret to announce the death of the Rev R Ussher Greer M.A., which occurred suddenly at Seapatrick Rectory, Banbridge last week, just after returning from a visit to the camp at Ballykinlar in pursuance of his duties as a chaplain in His Majesty's forces. A clergyman of great activity in many spheres of religious and philanthropic work the late Mr Greer was highly popular, and one of the most widely known ministers in the North of Ireland, He was born near Dungannon on 29th July 1868. His father was the rector of Kilcoleman and Crossboyle, County Mayo. He was educated at the Royal School Dungannon whence he proceeded to Trinity College, where he graduated in the year 1891, taking his M.A. Degree two years later. He married a daughter of Mr Frederick Greer, R. M, Tullylagan, Cookstown, and the deepest sympathy will be extended to the relatives of the deceased in their sudden bereavement. The late Mr Greer was an enthusiastic member of the Orange Lodge. He was a member of the Masonic Order, and was also connected with several temperance and friendly organisations. The funeral took place on Saturday to Newmills.
Right Rev J Irvine Peacock, Lord Bishop of Derry unveiled a memorial tablet in November 1916 to the memory of the late Rev R Ussher Greer. The memorial tablet can still be viewed today in Seapatrick Parish Church, Banbridge, Co Down. It is on the left of the chancel and bears the Inscription:
To the Glory of God
And the Loving Memory of
Richard Ussher Greer M. A.
For 3 ½ years Rector of this parish 1911-15.
Until the day break and the shadows flee away
Headstone 43 in the grounds of Tullanisken Church reads:-
'In loving memory of James Scott who died at his residence, Bloomhill, in this parish on 6th May 1873, aged 74 years. Eliza Scott, his wife, who died on 7th January 1862, aged 63 years. Robert William Scott, youngest son of the above, who died on 4th April 1895 aged 63 years. Charlotte Scott, wife of said Robert William Scott, who died on 6th October 1910, aged 61 years. Richard Ussher Greer M.A, Rector of Seapatrick, Banbridge, eldest son of the above Charlotte Scott, who died on 23rd June 1915, aged 46 years. 'In sure and certain hope.' Lt Col Robert W H Scott CBE, D.L. J.P., Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died 14th May 1989. Also his beloved wife, Ursula Helen Scott, died 8th January 1989.'
The last resting place of Rev Richard Ussher Greer is still easily found today at Newmills, which is just off the Dungannon to Cookstown Road. The family plot has a large granite headstone and ornate fenced surround and it sits proudly overlooking the main road through the village in the churchyard adjacent to the church.
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 14th February 1916: The Late Rev. R Ussher Greer – Memorial Tablet Unveiled
There was a large congregation at the evening service at St Michael’s Church, Craven Street, Shankhill Road, yesterday, when the Lord Bishop of the diocese (Right Rev Dr D’Arcy) unveiled a memorial tablet to the late Rev. R Ussher Greer, M.A., and performed the solemn dedication ceremony. The tablet bears the following inscription:-
‘In memorial, Rev Richard Ussher Greer, M.A., first rector of this parish, 1893-1902, by whose energetic efforts this parish was established and church erected. He died 23rd June 1915, while serving as army chaplain, Ulster Division. Warm-hearted and zealous in ministry, he turned many to righteousness. Erected by John Nelson to his esteemed friend.’
The Lord Bishop preached an impressive sermon from the text, ‘To the wise the way of life goeth upwards’ (15th chapter of Proverbs, 24th verse). He pointed out that there was a great distinction between intellectual power in the worldly sense and wisdom in the spiritual sense. In the latter it meant the discernment which sees those things which are most worth living for, which are most worth doing in the highest sense, the wisdom to see that God is first, and must be first in every life. In the Rev Ussher Greer they had one who was surely wise in the highest sense. His life was dedicated to the service of god, and he was the maker of that church under God. He built up that parish, and by his proclamation of the Gospel of Christ gathered together a congregation in which a splendid spirit of faith and devotion manifested itself. It was nice to think of such a life as his. While he was still in the full vigour of life, God called him away upwards from this stricken world with its tremendous sorrows.’
The tablet was the work of Messrs Purdy and Millard, sculptors, of Howard Street, Belfast.
A Plague in Newmills Parish Church states:
George Ussher Greer Plaque Newmills Church
In loving Memory of Richard Ussher Greer M.A. Rector of Seapatrick, Banbridge. Only son of William Greer of Rhonehill and Grandson of Richard Pike of Beechgrove. He looked for a city that hath foundations whose Builder and Maker is God.
Rev Richard Ussher Greer's son, Rt. Rev. William Derrick Lindsay Greer, held the office of Bishop of Manchester between 1947 and 1970.
Read more
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists Greer Family Lists Richard Ussher as age 32 living with the family at house 29 in Cliftonville Road, Clifton, Antrim
2 1911 Census lists Greer Family Lists Richard Ussher as age 42 living with the family at house 5 in Dublin Road, Lisburn, Antrim
3 Community Trees Information on Richard Ussher Greer.
4 Forum discussion (GWF) Mentions Richard not actually getting to France.
5 Raymonds County Down Website Includes images which give a full biography of Richard Ussher Greer.
6 The Peerage Family tree including birth dates
Dungannon District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2015-2020