Corporal Tom


“Daily Province”.  Friday November 23rd 1917.


“Mr. A. G. Heselton of 1931 fifty-first avenue east has received word that his brother, Corp T. W. Heselton, who before the war was an employee of Martin Finlayson & Mather, has been presented with the Military Medal by General Sir Arthur Currie.

“Corp. Heselton took charge of a platoon of men at Farbus, after the sergeant had been killed, making a “strong point” by consolidating using his own machine-gun crew to protect the front and instructing the thirty men who had been separated from their company to act as bombers and grenade throwers. Corp. Heselton has been in France since March, 1916, and has never been wounded. He is now with the machine-gun section of the First Brigade.”

$1.10 a day plus $0.10 a day “Field Allowance” for a grand total of $1.20 a day Canadian while you’re in the “Canadian Expeditionary Force”.  It’s 1917.  Tom is ancient.  He’s 27.

“Farbus”, if you must know, is a little place in the extreme north of France. “Haute-De-France”.  It’s about two kilometres from Vimy.  Farbus wasn’t great, but Vimy was a really messed up place back in 1917. Corp. Heselton must have become extremely adept at dodging bullets, bombs, mines, gas, artillery rounds, rodents, bacteria.

July 14 1918

A passport-sized booklet with a worn, brown-coloured fabric cover is the “Canadian Pay Book For Use On Active Service” for “Cpl. TWHeselton Nº 150118”.

“Specimen Form of Military Will” on the second to last page of the paybook is followed on the next page by a blank “Military Will” form you can fill out.

It’s perforated along the left edge in case you want to remove the will and maybe give it to somebody to hold onto.

At the top of the following page, page 22, the last page of the paybook, it says “If page 20 with the Military Will is removed, state on this page to whom it has been forwarded and date:— ”.

Below in handwritten black ink are the words: “No desire to make a will”.

Corporal Tom was one of those guys that had that aura about him. You just knew nothing was ever going to happen to him. He must have known it too. He must have been totally committed to the idea.

Years later.  Decades.  A long time.  Way in the future.  Different world.  Modern Times.

Gordon & Belyea
Gordon & Belyea

Corporal Tom, seated centre, with other factotums of “Gordon & Belyea” circa 1940s. Catch the photographer in the mirror, or maybe it’s a ghost.  Tom was always a hardware type of guy.  Tools and how to use them.  He was an adept.  Gordon & Belyea are extinct but were a significant player in marine and industrial supply for decades in Vancouver, Canada.

Tom was born in Scotland but emigrated with his English bride in…*#&%$)@*&)((==+++ sorry about that the tape ran out

Thomas Warters Heselton 1890 – 1973.  He’s the father of the “suspect” whose image is contained in that previous post about the military medical museum.  I guess that makes him my grandfather-in-law.  I never met him but he had a great old workbench.  I won’t have anything to do with workbenches, tools or any of that stuff, but that is a story for another day and that day may never come.

"Some of the K' nuts"
“Some of the K’ nuts”

K’nuts, get it?  Canucks?  I don’t know if there’s anything in it, but a “K nut” is also a type of metal nut.  One side of the nut is flanged.  That’s a technical term I’d like to explain but we’re just about out of time here.  I can tell you this, a K nut definitely qualifies as hardware.

Have a great day


Author: Steven Brown


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