Rev. Thomas Leigh Barlow Westerdale (1884-1965)

T.L.B. Westerdale was a Wesleyan minister who served all through the First World War in two capacities: from 1914-1915 as a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and then from 1915-1918 as a Chaplain to the Forces. His service record is preserved in the Methodist Archives and Research Centre, University of Manchester (MA1999/1 page 353), and may be viewed here

He sent back regular letters to The Methodist Times commenting on his activities and experiences, and these were then published as two books:

Westerdale, T.L. Barlow   Under the Red Cross Flag. With the ‘Medicals’ in action   London: Charles H. Kelly, 1915.  Follow this link to read

Westerdale, T.L.B.    Messages from Mars. A Chaplain’s Experiences at the Front   London: Charles H. Kelly, 1917  available to read here

After the war he returned to the itinerant ministry.  He died on February 1965 and his obituary appears in the Minutes of the Methodist Conference 1965, on page 196

“Thomas Leigh Barlow Westerdale: born in a Wesleyan Manse at Brighton in 1884, educated at the Merchant Taylors School and University College, London. He was proud of the attainment of first Class Honours at the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering examination at Faraday House, London, but then he received an irresistible call to the Methodist Ministry.

After a pre-collegiate year at Chelmsford, he entered Richmond College. He ministered in the London (Brixton Hill), Liverpool (Great Homer Street), Swindon, Windsor and Miadenhead, Helston, High Wycombe, London (Leytonstone), Lincoln (wesley), Medway Towns, Dunstable, Hunstanton and Winchester circuits. He served as a Chaplian in the 1914-18 war. His dispatches from the front to the Methodist Recorder and his book Under the Red Cross Flag arousedgreat interest and gratitude. He was given the certificate of H.C.F. at the close of hostilities.

“T.L.B” as he was affectionately known, was a fascinating personality, possessed exceptional intellectual and social gifts, and convincing preaching powers. The Second Coming of Christ often dominated his writings and conversation. In later years he loved to spend his mornings in the Public Library at Winchester in research for his articles in the local Press, where he invariably stressed that only by the Power and Grace of God could the world be brought to fulfil the glorious purpose of creation. He was much loved by those who knew him best and for the very kindly sympathy and help which always so freely flowed from his heart. He died in Winchester Hospital, after much suffering. in the eighty-first year of his life and the fifty-fourth of his ministry.”

In addition we might note that T.L.B. Westerdale was the son of the Rev. Thomas Ellerby Westerdale (1854-1924). He entered the Wesleyan Methodist ministry in 1911, and was married twice. In 1919 to Doris Vera Hettie Piper (1895-1952) and after her death, from 1953 to Eleanor Grace Guy, who survived him. He died on February 5th, 1965.

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