Tag Archives: Inns of Court Officer Training Corps

Harold Leofric Helsdon

Harold Leofric Helsdon was born on 18th November 1896. He was the eldest son of Horace John Helsdon, an architect, and Flora, the eldest daughter of W. Franklin Dickson. He was admitted to Ashburnham House as an exhibitioner in September 1910 and made a monitor in Lent Term 1914.

Harold was made Head of Ashburnham in Play 1914, and although he was not an entirely successful Head of House, he seems to have been reasonably well-liked. His successor wrote the following, rather equivocal, account of Harold’s year as Head of House in the Ashburnham Ledger:

“Helsdon had a great many natural advantages, but he made very little use of them during his last year. He was clever to a very high degree and probably his last year’s behaviour here will cause him much regret and sorrow. Helsdon was extremely good-natured and pleasant to get on with in House matters. In the matter of punishments etc. I consider him to have been scrupulously fair and justÔǪ Helsdon was not much use at games, but he was decidedly keen on them and set the House a good example which I believe has been well followed. Financially Helsdon left the House slightly in debt which should not have been the case ÔǪ Finally I trust and hope that Helsdon will have greater success in his future. He is at present in the Inns of Court OTC and expects a commission shortly.”

(J.L. Strain, Lent 1915)

After leaving the school at Easter 1915, Harold entered the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps. He became a 2nd Lieutenant for the 3rd Battalion (Reserve) Dorsetshire Regiment on the 28th July of that year. He was attached to 1/7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and went out to the western front in June 1916, where he acted first as bombing officer, and afterwards as intelligence officer.

The Royal Warwickshire Regiment resting during Battle of the Somme 1916
The Royal Warwickshire Regiment resting during Battle of the Somme 1916

Just a week after his 20th birthday, on the night of the 25th and 26th November 1916, Harold was killed in night patrol work near Butte de Warlencourt.

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Leon de Barr Kelsey

Leon de Barr Kelsey was the only son of Richard and Annie Kelsey, of South Kensington. He attended Homeboarders’ House from April 1898 until July 1901.

Leon was knocked out in the first round of the 300 yards race at the Athletic Sports Competition in 1900. However, he did make it into the Cricket 3rd XI, scoring 49 runs in one match.

After leaving the school Leon embarked on a career as an architect, studying for six more years before entering his father’s business as a bootmaker. Leon’s father died in 1911, aged only 54, and it must have been Leon’s responsibility to support his widowed mother and younger sister.

In April 1915 Leon entered the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps. He took a commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the 23rd Battalion of the London Regiment. He went out to the western front on 24th September 1915.

He left all his money and belongings to his younger sister Lilian, who was not yet 30. Unusually, his body was brought back to England and he is buried in Highgate Cemetery, directly behind Karl Marx.

Troops from the London Regiment at the Somme, 6th September 1916
Troops from the London Regiment at the Somme, 6th September 1916
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