Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Thomas Heald Guest 1875-1916

Barnsley Chronicle 22 July 1916 (thanks to Barnsley Archives)
June Q 1875 Rusholme, Lancashire (Chorlton District 8c 663)

Son of:
Thomas Guest b.1843 Barnsley d.1919 Cheshire

1911:  34 The Downs, Altrincham, Confectionery Manufacturer
He married at St James, Birch in Rusholme on 23 October 1872 to
Mary Jane Heald b.1854 Patricroft, Lancs daughter of George James Heald, Solicitor

Position in family: The second of 2 children
1. Kate Guest b.1874 Cheetham, Lancs
2. Thomas Heald Guest b.1875   WW1 KILLED

Home address, age and occupation:
1881: The Cedars, Lapwing Lane, Didsbury, Lancashire aged 6

Was a pupil at Bloxham School, near Banbury, Oxfordshire between 1886 and 1889.
1891: (unable to trace him in this census)
1901: (served in the Boer War)
1911: 2 Chesham Place, Brighton - married, aged 36, living on Private Means


He was married to Mabel Ellen Fountain b.1871 Haigh, Yks
on 3 October 1905 at All Saints, Darton, Yorkshire
She was the daughter of Joseph Fountain (d.1904) of Birthwaite and Haigh Hall, Colliery Owner.  Her contact address on his medal card is Ackworth Lodge, Nr Pontefract, Yorks.

They had no children.

Military Service:
Served in the Boer War receiving three stripes and two medals.

Found under Cape Mounted Riflemen on Ancestry being awarded the South Africa Medal and Clasps (1901) for Cape Colony, Orange Free State and the Transvaal.
In 1914 he was made a temporary Second Lieutenant in the First Barnsley Pals.
Promoted to Major in 1915
Regiment and Battalion:    13th York and Lancaster
Awards: British War Medal, Victory Medal.

Death:     1 July 1916 aged 41
CWGC Remembered:  Theipval Memorial, Somme, France

Bloxham School Roll of Honour

Memorial Plaque, St Oswald's Church, Lower Peover
St John's Church, Barnsley - Oak Memorial Tablet


Lives of the First World War

Tom's father Thomas Guest snr was also a Justice of the Peace, his grandfather, another Thomas Guest, had been a Grocer on Market Hill, Barnsley in 1861.

After the war Thomas snr, along with Major Tom Guest's widow, paid for work in St Oswald's Church, Lower Peover: replacing the chancel floor with black and white marble and erecting a brass plaque on the oak panelling of the chancel in memory of his son. Liverpool Daily Post 10 Oct 1918

Mary Jane Guest (nee Heald) is living with her father George James Heald in London in 1891 and with her brother Richard Heald in London in 1901 at this time stating that she is a widow living on her own means - but Thomas Guest snr is still alive.  In 1911 she is still in London, as a visitor to a house in Lewisham, she says she has two children still alive.  However I cannot trace Tom's sister Kate Guest b.1874 in any census returns beyond 1881.

Barnsley Chronicle 5 August 1916
The Late Major Guest - 
How the Gallant Officer met his Death

Major Thomas Guest, York and Lancaster Regiment (1st Barnsley Battalion) whose death in action we have already reported, served with distinction throughout the Boer War, receiving two medals and three stripes. He was captured twice and also wounded. A letter received by Mrs Guest, Gorse Crag, Port Erin, Isle of Man, from Colonel Wilford, says:- "He was last seen leading his company into a German trench, and was reported to have been hit in the leg, just as he reached it. I gave him the choice of leading his company, or remaining in reserve. He chose the former. Our Brigadier, who has seen many fights, remarked that he had never seen anything more splendid than the way your husband led his men through the heavy artillery barrage and intense machine gun fire. He showed an example of bravery and devotion which has been unequalled."  Barnsley Chronicle 5 August 1916

From 'Barnsley Pals' by Jon Cooksey:

"We used to march out as far as Kexborough and on the way back along Wakefield Road we’d have a stop at “The Sportsman” Smithies. Tommy Guest used to have a barrel laid on outside. There’d be a pint for all of us – he was a good old stick!” Harry Hall, 13th Y & L Regiment

With such gestures Second Lieutenant Guest won the respect of Harry Hall and the rest of ‘B’ Company. He quickly became a popular leader, this officer with his peaked cap permanently stuck at a jaunty angle. It would be as a Major, and the Officer Commanding ‘B’ Company that Tommy Guest would be among the first men to leave the assembly trenches when the time came for the Barnsley Pals to attack the German lines on July 1st, 1916.


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