Sidney and Arthur Forfar

The Second World War started just 21 years after the First World War ended, meaning that in many cases the people who served and died in 1939-1945 were the sons and daughters of people who had taken an active part in 1914-1918. In some cases, members of both generations were among our banks’ staff.

Sidney James Forfar was born in West Ham, in London, in 1881, the son of Robert Forfar, a clerk in a soap factory, and his wife Eliza. He had an older brother and three younger sisters. After leaving school Sidney went to work for Union of London & Smiths Bank in its London Cornhill office. He was also a member of the bank's staff sports club, representing the bank at both cricket and football. In 1912 he married Lauretta in Plaistow, Essex. They had two children together: Gwendoline Lauretta, born in 1913, and Arthur Hill, born on 22 April 1916. 

During the First World War Sidney joined the army, serving from April 1917 as a Private in the Honourable Artillery Company. He died at a casualty clearing station in France on 16 October 1917, when he was 36 years old. His daughter and son, who were respectively aged 4 and 18 months at the time of their father’s death, subsequently became beneficiaries of the Bank Clerks' Orphanage, which provided financial support for the education of children of deceased bank workers. Arthur Forfar was educated at independent schools (St Aubyn’s School, Woodford Green, and Forest School, near Snaresbrook) through the funding his mother received from the Bank Clerks’ Orphanage. 

After leaving school, Arthur joined the staff of his father’s bank, which by then had been involved in a series of mergers, becoming part of National Provincial Bank. He started as a probationer at London Moorgate branch, less than 10 minutes’ walk from Cornhill, where his father had once worked. It was July 1933 and he was 17 years old. He was promoted to junior clerk after 3 months’ work, and to clerk in October 1935. He moved to London Bloomsbury Square branch in December 1936. 

Like his father, Arthur was a keen sportsman, playing rugby for the bank as well as enjoying swimming and shooting. His other hobbies included photography and motoring. He was also a territorial soldier, a member of the London Scottish. At the outbreak of war he was mobilised for full time military service, and was soon commissioned into the Black Watch. He was posted to the Middle East in 1941. He served in North Africa, where he was wounded, and Italy. After a period back in England he went to France with the first landings on D Day and was killed in action there on 19 August 1944. Captain Forfar was 28 years old. His mother, Lauretta, had lost her husband and then her son 27 years apart, in successive world wars, as his sister had lost her father and brother.