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Thomas Bernard Heslop (1891-1938)

Solicitor's Clerk from Barnard Castle who served with 6th DLI awarded DSO

Thomas Bernard Heslop, the son of Major John William Bernard and Eliza Barry Heslop, was born in Barnard Castle on 16 March 1891. He had two brothers and by 1911 was working in a solicitor’s office (possibly his father’s) as a clerk. On 6 June 1913 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant into the 6th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry (DLI) and was appointed temporary Lieutenant from 4 November 1914 to 27 August 1915. Thomas landed in France on 19 April 1915 and was appointed temporary Captain a week later. In July he married Sybil Crofton Liddell at Chester-le-Street. He was mentioned in dispatches in January 1916 and in June was promoted to Captain. He was promoted to acting Major in October 1917 and then to Lieutenant Colonel in command of the Battalion for a few weeks in early 1918. In September he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and in December was again mentioned in dispatches. He was transferred to the T.A. Reserve as a Major in February 1921 and in the same year his only child, a daughter, was born. He died In Startforth, near Barnard Castle, on 24 March 1938.

His award of the DSO was gazetted on 18 September 1918 and the citation reads:

“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. While commanding a battalion holding an outpost line, all the officers except three subalterns and himself were killed or wounded by shell fire. It was entirely due to the personal hold which he had over his men that, with their left flank enveloped, they stood their ground fighting to the last”.

Civil Parish: Barnard Castle

Birth date: 16-Mar-1891

Death date: 24-Mar-1938

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: 5 South View Terrace, Barnard Castle (1891 Census)
2 Park Terrace, Barnard Castle (1901 Census)
Startforth Villa East, Barnard Castle (1911 Census)
East House, Startforth (England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1938)

Education: Richmond School, Richmond, Yorkshire

Employment: Solicitor’s Clerk (1911 Census)

Family: Father: Major JohnWilliam Bernard
Mother: Eliza Barry Heslop (nee Wilkinson)
Brothers: John Charles & Herbert William Heslop
Wife: Sybil Crofton Heslop (nee Lyddell)
Daughter: Joan Heslop

Military service:

6th Battalion Durham Light Infantry

Medal(s): Distinguished Service Order
Mentioned in Dispatches (2)
1914-1915 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Gender: Male

Contributed by John Edwards