Captain Arthur Henry (Villiers-)Palethorpe



Arthur Henry Palethorpe was born on 5 January 1873 at Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, one of at least six children of retired grocer Thomas Palethorpe and his wife Eliza Ruth Palethorpe. He trained as a shipbuilder's draughtsman and at some point served in the Humber Division Volunteers and the Northumberland Hussars. In 1895 he married Eudora Richardson at Hull. The couple had four children.

It appears that sometime between 1897 and 1900 Palethorpe moved to South Africa (possibly with his family). He may have seen service in the Boer War.

On his return to Dublin he worked as a dental assistant. On 20 July 1901 he married Mildred Ievers, daughter of gentleman James Butler Ievers, at the Church of Ireland Parish Church, St Peter's, Dublin - he gave his name as Arthur Henry Villiers-Palethorpe and claimed to be a medical doctor from Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, son of surgeon James Villiers.

Soon after this, Palethorpe established a dental practice in Ballymena. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 12 George Street, Ballymena, and working as a dental surgeon.

At some point prior to 1907 Palethorpe joined the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry, and then its successor, the North Irish Horse. By 1913, when he left the regiment 'time expired', he had risen to the rank of regimental quartermaster sergeant.

Following the declaration of war, on 13 August 1914 Palethorpe applied of a commission in the cavalry, mounted infantry or Army Service Corps (understating his age by four years). He was appointed lieutenant in the Army Service Corps on 3 November. He embarked for France on 11 September 1915 in command of No.4 (185) Company, 21st Divisional Train. On 1 February 1916 he was promoted to the rank of captain.

While on leave from France in September 1918 Palethorpe fell ill. A medical board the following month found him unfit for service, and he was struck off the strength of the BEF. He requested that he not be demobilised and that when his health improved that he join the Army of Occupation. Medical boards through 1919, however, found that he was still unfit for service. A board on 23 June 1920 found him permanently unfit. He relinquished his commission due to ill-health contracted on active service (neuritis) on 26 August 1920.

After the war Palethorpe emigrated to Canada, where he engaged in dairy farming and ranching at Chilliwack, British Columbia. In 1936 he sought to enrol in the Royal Defence Companies, but was turned-down, as he was not living in the UK. He died at Chilliwack on 5 January 1937.



Palethorpe's oldest child, Mervyn, also served in the war, as a 2nd lieutenant in the Royal Irish Rifles. The Belfast News-Letter of 8 July 1916 reported that he had been badly wounded. In World War 2 he served as a flying officer in the Royal Air Force.


The first image shows Palethorpe in 1912 - the full picture can be seen here. Second image sourced from Lives of the First World War site - via Richard Villiers-Palethorpe.