Tues 27th March 2018 at 10.00am William Borlase School chapel, Marlow
Booking required due to space constraints
2nd Lieutenant Basil Horsfall VC
Basil Arthur Horsfall, VC was born in Colombo in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1887 to Maria and Charles William Horsfall, the youngest of four brothers. Along with all three of his elder brothers, he was educated at St Thomas’ College in Ceylon and then at William Borlase’s School in Marlow.
After completing his education at Borlase from 1903 to 1905, he worked briefly at Barclay’s Bank in London. On his return to Ceylon he first took up rubber planting. Later he was appointed as a Financial Assistant in the Public Works Department of the Civil Service. He also qualified in signalling and searchlight operation in the Ceylon Engineer Volunteers.
Following the outbreak of the Great War he was refused enlistment in the British Army for two years because of his status as a volunteer. Finally he was allowed to come to England where he followed an older brother into the 1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment in December 1916. He was transferred to the 11th Battalion in October 1917 after injury and a spell of recuperation in a hospital in England. He won his VC in France in March 1918 during an action to stem a massive German offensive near Arras for his extreme bravery despite having been wounded. The citation for the award is attached. He died on the afternoon of the 27th March and his body was never found.
On the 27th March 2018 the Marlow Remembers WW1 Association and Borlase School will hold a commemoration of Basil Horsfall at the school. The service in the school chapel will begin at 10AM followed by a show of exhibits and archive material prepared by the Association and by students at the school. Because of space constraints this is not a public event. However if you are interested in coming along please contact Belinda Ford on firstname.lastname@example.org
2nd Lt. Basil Arthur Horsfall, late E.Lane. R.
For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. 2nd Lt’. Horsfall was in command of the centre platoon during an attack on our positions.
When the enemy first attacked his three forward sections were driven back and he was wounded in the head. Nevertheless, he immediately organised the remainder of his men and made a counter-attack, which recovered his original positions.
On hearing that, out of the remaining three officers of his company, two were killed and one -wounded, he refused to go to the dressing station, although his wound was severe. Later his platoon had to be withdrawn to escape very heavy shell fire, but immediately the shelling lifted he made a second counter-attack and again recovered his positions.
When the order to withdraw was given he was the last to leave his position, and, although exhausted, said he could have held on if it had been necessary.
His conduct was a splendid example to his men, and he showed throughout the utmost disregard of danger.
This very gallant officer was killed when retiring to the positions in rear.
The above is an extract from Gazette Citation ( pdf )
Barclays Bank Photos 1906
Barclays Group Archives hold a set of 3 small photograph albums from the early 1900s showing staff of Barclays Bank at 54 Lombard Street “at work and play”. This image (of Basil Horsfall) is extracted from the photograph above from one of the albums. The photo has surnames written above and beneath it, and these have been used in conjunction with information from other Barclays Bank sources to identify the men.