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Born: 1893, Silsden
Died: 29 December 1918
Address: Selbourne House, Bradford Road, Shipley
Parents: Robert and Mary E
Spouse: Gladys Glassbrook Hadfield
Siblings: Gladys
Occupation: Motor Mechanic
Rank: Pte
Rolls of Honour: St Paul’s, Shipley
Regiment: Army Service Corps
Henry James Abbott Tunstill
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Henry was born in Silsden in 1893 the son of Robert and Mary E Tunstill. At the time of the 1911 census the family were living in Birkenshaw, Bradford, and Henry was described as a draper’s assistant. He appears to have married Gladys Glassbrook Hadfield in Otley in August 1914 and by the time he enlisted on 24 April 1916 they were living in Shipley and he described himself as a motor mechanic On 2 August 1918, the Shipley Times and Express reported: Pte H J A Tunstill, M.T., A.S.C., of Selbourne House, Bradford Road, Shipley, who has been at the front two years is now ill in hospital. Henry never recovered from his illness as we learn from a piece in the newspaper published on 3 January 1919, which also tells us so much more about a remarkable young man:
The funeral took place at Nab Wood Cemetery, Shipley, on Tuesday afternoon of Pte Henry J A Tunstill, who died at his parents’ residence, Selborne House, on 27th December, aged 25 He was called up in 1916 and served with the A.SC. two years in Egypt where he contracted Hodgkin’s disease. He was returned to England and was under treatment for three months at the Bermondsey Military Hospital. There being little hope of his recovery, he was discharged from the Army and returned to Shipley three months ago. At the time of his joining the Army
he was touring the provinces with the Sir F R Benson Shakespearean Company and had appeared with conspicuous success at Glasgow, Newcastle, Hull and other centres. Having exceptional elocutionary ability he was well known on the concert platform previous to going on stage and had often appeared at Eastbrook Hall, Bradford. He had a great liking for conjuring and as an exponent of this art he gave numerous public exhibitions under his professional name of Gilbert Crescent. At the age of 18 he won in an open international competition the first prize for the best original trick, offered by the editor of a periodical
which caters for the devotees of legerdemain, the just on that occasion being Professor Hoffman, a writer on sleight-of-hand. The deceased aspired to literature and had written a book, now in the Press, on the art of the magician. He was editor of ‘The Magic Record,’ a monthly paper published in Bradford, and was a member of the Magicians’ Club (London) and the Society of Yorkshire Magicians. Not only was he an exhibitor of tricks but he was also an inventor and in recognition of his all-round ability, he had bee selected to judge a conjuring competition to be held shortly at Bradford. Services were conducted at the house and the grave by the Rev Henry Taylor, Primitive Methodist minister. Among the floral tributes was one ‘To my darling husband from his own dear wife.’
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