Name: Thomas Crawford Bielby
Service No: 241075
Date of Death: 18/01/1918
Regiment/Service: Yorkshire Regiment “B” Coy. 13th Bn
Grave Reference:II. D. 12. Cemetery: Mory Abbey Military Cemetery, Mory
Additional Information:Son of John William and Maria Bielby, of Scarborough; husband of Elsie Cordiner Bielby, of 17 New St, Pateley Bridge, Harrogate.
Paul Allen writes:
13 days after the death of Lance Corporal Barraclough, Scarborough also lost: 241075 Corporal Thomas Crawford Bielby.
A member of ‘B’ Company of the 13th (Service) Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment, ‘Tommy’ Bielby was born in the town during 1892 at 16a Castlegate, and was the 26-year-old eldest of 6 children of Maria (formerly Crawford) and John William Bielby, a bricklayer by trade, who was living in Scarborough at 31 Norwood Street at the time of their son’s death.
A pupil of Gladstone Road Infant and Junior Schools between 1896 and 1904, at the age of 12 Bielby left ‘Glaggo’ Road to become an errand boy for local grocer Charles Edwards, operating from his shop in Seamer Road. Still employed by Mr Edwards at the time of the 1911 Census, Tommy resided with the rest of his family at 77 Norwood Street. The family consisted of ‘bricklayer’ John William (born 1869), Maria (b1870), John William ‘bricklayer’ (b1894), ‘waitress’ Sarah Jane (b1895), Rebecca, ‘cash desk’ (b1897), Ethel Maria (b1901), and Doris Irene (b1906); all had been born at Scarborough.
Tommy Bielby married his childhood sweetheart Elsie Cordiner Dutchman (the youngest daughter of May and John Henry Dutchman) at St Mary’s Parish Church on Wednesday, 24 March 1915, and 2 months later he enlisted into the Yorkshire Regiment at Scarborough’s Court House, located on the corner of St Thomas Street and Castle Road, (now a Borough Council car park).
As with Alan Barraclough, Tommy Bielby began his army career at the Yorkshire Regiment’s Regimental Depot at Richmond, where he endured the customary 3 months of basic infantry training before being posted to the Territorial Force 2nd/4th Battalion of the regiment, which at the time was part of 189 Brigade of 63rd Division. A pre-war ‘Saturday night’ soldier, Tommy’s previously-acquired military skills soon saw him being promoted to corporal, and he remained in various locations in England with the battalion as an instructor until the end of November 1917, when he was placed amongst a draft of replacements which joined the veteran 13th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment in France.
Attached to the 121 Brigade of 40th Division, by the time that Bielby joined the battalion’s ‘B’ Company, its remnants had been ‘resting’ near the village of Ervillers, having recently been withdrawn from the operations at Cambrai, where the unit had almost been totally wiped out in the ferocious fighting at Bourlon Wood (of the 24 officers and 450 other ranks who went into the wood on the morning of 23 November 1917, barely 100 all ranks came out 3 days later).
Bielby spent Christmas Day of 1917 in Divisional Reserve at Belfast Camp. 2 days later his battalion returned to the front line near to Ervillers where the men endured the first few days of the new year in conditions which are described by Wylly: ‘During January the weather was very inclement, alternate snow and sudden thaws rendering the communication trenches almost everywhere impassable, and reliefs had to be carried out over the top’. 
A soldier who survived barely 3 weeks of active service, Tommy Bielby was amongst the thousands upon thousands of men whose deaths did not warrant a mention in any of the history books. Officially recorded as having been killed in action during Friday, 18 January 1918, the news of Tommy’s demise reached Elsie Bielby [who, by 1918, was residing with their daughter, Elsie (aged 1), at 100 Moorland Road) on Tuesday, 22 January; the tidings were also included in a casualty list that appeared in the ‘Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday, 25 January:
‘Killed in action’
‘News has come from the commanding officer that Thomas Crawford Bielby, 100 Moorland Road, was killed on January 19th. He leaves a widow and one child. He was 26, joined up in May 1915, and had been a member of the Territorials. He went to France in December 1917, being Sergeant Instructor prior to going out. He was the son of Mr. Bielby, builder, Norwood Street, and was formerly in the employ of Mr. Edwards, Grocer, who has lost several members of his staff in the war … ‘
The remains of Corporal Bielby were taken some two kilometres to the east of Ervillers, where they were interred in a burial site known as ‘Mory Abbey Military Cemetery’, which was, and still is, located close to the village of Mory (the cemetery is to be found 450m north of the village on the north side of the road to Ecoust-St Mein, opposite a large farm known as L’Abbaye). Tommy’s final resting place is to be found in Section 2, Row D, Grave 12 of the cemetery.
Among the 73 former pupils of Gladstone Road Council School who lost their lives during the war of 1914-1918, Thomas Crawford Bielby’s name was commemorated on the school’s War Memorial, which was unveiled in the Junior Hall on 14 December 1927 by Gladstone Road’s first Headmaster, Mr William Robert Drummond. The memorial takes the form of a large brass plaque bearing the names of the lost pupils (including sisters E W and M M McLaughlin, who died whilst on active service whilst acting as nurses with the Volunteer Aid Detachment), and can still be found in its original place in the Junior Hall of the school.
Tommy’s name can also be found on a gravestone in Scarborough’s Dean Road Cemetery (Section B, Row 15, Grave 34), which also bears the name of his younger sister, Sarah Jane Bielby. More popularly known as ‘Cissie’, Sarah was married in Halifax during 1919 to Alfred J Arnold and passed away on 20 September 1924 at the age of 29 years. The memorial also commemorates Tommy’s mother, Maria Bielby, who passed away at the age of 71 years on 5 June 1942, and his father, John William Bielby, who died at his home at 41 Beechville Avenue on Friday, 30 September 1949 at the age of 81.
The memorial also contains the name of Tommy’s younger brother, John William Bielby, who also served and survived the Great War.
Shortly after Tommy’s death, on Friday, 1 February 1918, Elsie Bielby commemorated her lost husband in the ‘Births, Marriages, and Deaths’ column of that night’s edition of the ‘Scarborough Mercury’;
‘Thomas Crawford Bielby—dearly beloved husband of Elsie C. Bielby, 100 Moorland Road [eldest son of John W. Bielby, Norwood Street], killed in action, January 19th 1918, aged 26 years…
He died unnoticed in the muddy trench—Nay, God was with him, and he did not flinch’
 The Green Howards in the War 1914-1918; Colonel H.C. Wylly. (Scarborough Reference Library)