Heslop John Russel Captain RAMC 72178

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Personnel Entry

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Name Heslop John Russel
Army number 72178
Rank Captain (at the time of his capture).
Decorations Military Cross - gazetted 11/7/1940 in the King's Birthday Honours List.
Date of birth 5/9/1907 (some records show 3rd, rather than 5th) in Auckland District, County Durham.
Age 66 at the time of his death.
Unit Commissioned in the Royal Army Medical Corps, Territorial Army, 1939 - possibly as a Lieutenant. Attached to The Durham Light Infantry and posted to the 10th Battalion. Served with the B.E.F. in France. Taken Prisoner of War. Repatriated. Not yet able to trace the remainder of his his military career, as those changes do not appear in the London Gazette.
Company/Battery Battalion HQ.
Platoon or other sub-unit Medical section.
Task or role Regimental Medical Officer.
Joined Brigade Not yet known, but probably 1/9/1939.
Promotions Captain.
Wounded Not as far as is known.
Prisoner of War Yes - Camp and PoW Numbers not yet available.
Died/Killed in action Death registered Q3 1974 in Cockermouth. Died July 1974.
Home address In the 1911 Census he was living in Bruce Cottage, Bishop Auckland with his parents. He was admitted to the UK Medical Register in 1935, having qualified MB, BS at the University of Durham in 1935, and is shown as being from High Etherley, Bishop Auckland. He married Joan G Hett in Teesdale in Q2 1938. In the 1939 General Register he was shown as residing at Greenbank, Darlington, with his wife and probably one child. He was identified as a Medical Practitioner and as a Captain in the RAMC.
Source table

Captain Heslop's award of the Military Cross was featured in a report in the Auckland Chronicle in the edition dated 20th June 1940. His Citation, which can be found on file WO 373/15/121 at The National Archives, reads:-

"On 21st May 1940 Captain Heslop, assisted by Agent de Liaison Borde, twice brought their Battalion Ambulance truck into Beaurains under heavy fire to evacuate wounded. They then proceeded over an open ridgeunder enemy shell fire to bring in a wounded man. Captain Heslop subsequently searched the ridge to ensure that no wounded were left there."

The recommendation was made by the Commander of 50th Division (it is assumed that this was processed after the disbandment of 23rd Division following evacuation to the UK).

In the edition of the Auckland Chronicle of 5/9/1940 the following report appeared:-

"The many Bishop Auckland friends and professional acquaintances of Captain J R Heslop who before the War was a medical practitioner at Heighington and had been missing since the evacuation of the B.E.F. from Dunkirk willl be glad to hear that he is a P.o.W. According to information received at Bishop Auckland on Tuesday he is doing invaluable service in another sphere. It appears that, though in captivity, he is doing excellent work as a Doctor attached to the 21st General Hospital in occupied territory.Captain Heslop is married and his wife is at present staying with his parents - Mr Charles Heslop (formerly Surveyor to Auckland Rural Council) and Mrs Heslop at Etherley.He was reported missing in JUne just before the announcement that he had been awarded the Military Cross. It appeared that Captain Heslop twice, with help, brought in the Battalion ambulancetruck under heavy enemy fire to take away woundedsoldiers. They then proceeded over an open ridge under enemy fire to bring a wounded man to safety. Captain Heslop subsequently searched the ridge to ensure that no more wounded were left."