Remembrance - The Yorkshire Regiment, First World War

Private Tom DRESSER, VC

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Private Tom Dresser For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty near Roeux on the 12th May 1917. Private Dresser, in spite of being twice wounded on the way, and suffering great pain, succeeded in conveying an important message from Battalion Headquarters to the front line of trenches, which he eventually reached in an exhausted condition. His fearlessness and determination to deliver the message at any cost proved of the greatest value to his Battalion at a critical period. Private Tom Dresser
(Left)   Private Tom Dresser delivers an important message from Battalion Headquarters to his Company Commander, although severely wounded twice whilst crossing no-man's land, - 12th May 1917.

Tom Dresser was born in York on 6th April 1892 (* - see below).   His parents Thomas and Clara (nee Ward) were originally farmers at Westgate, Pickering, who sold up and purchased a news agent business in Middlesbrough.   He was educated at St. John's and Hugh Bell High School in Middlesbrough and got his first job at Dorman Long's Dock Street Foundry.
Aged 22, he enlisted on 8th February 1916 into the 6th Yorkshires, then transferred to the 5th Yorkshires.   After 13 weeks at Rugeley training camp he sailed for France and arrived on the Somme with the 7th Yorkshires in early September 1916.
242697 Private Tom Dresser won his VC near Roeux on 12th May 1917.   It was gazetted on 27th June 1917.   When he came out of hospital he was posted to the 74th Machine Gun Corps with a new number 138867 until he was demobilised on 27th April 1919.
He returned to work at Dorman Long's Steel Works until he took over his father's news agency at 65 Marton Road, Middlesbrough.   He lived above the shop with his wife, Theresa (nee Landers ), whom he had married in 1924.   They had four sons before Britain was again at war with Germany in 1939.   During WW II, he served with 'G' Company, 8th North Riding (Middlesbrough) Battalion, Home Guard.   He died on Good Friday, 9th April, 1982, three days after his 90th birthday and was buried in Thorntree Cemetery, Middlesbrough.   His VC and medals are on loan from his son, Tom, to the Green Howards Regimental Museum in Richmond.

Information on the medal holders on this page, and other pages relating to the regiment's WW1 VC holders, is taken from "Beyond Their Duty" by Roger Chapman.   This book was specialy written to commemorate the only occasion on which all 18 Victoria Crosses won by members of the Green Howards regiment were together (April to October 2001, in the Green Howards Museum).   The book may be purchased from the Green Howards Museum Shop.

(*) The following information relating to Tom Dresser and his family has been supplied by Roger Dowson (e-mail :;-

Tom Dresser's birth place which was HUBY, NR Easingwold.

Tom Dresser's Grandfather, also called Tom Dresser was born in Whenby in 1825. He was a local farmer having 506 acres, employing 6 men and 3 boys.
Tom's father, Thomas was also born in Whenby in 1863. He was a groom by occupation - living in Little Langton, North Yorkshire. His Mother Clara (nee Ward) was a farmers daughter.
Tom Dresser V.C. was born at Lawnd House Farm, Huby, near Easingwold on 9th April 1891. This is listed on his birth certificate, copy at Beck Isle Museum.
The family moved around a lot, and he also had a sister born in Pontefract in 1887. Sometime between 1902 and 1917 they moved to Middlesbrough.

The Beck Isle Museum, Pickering holds several photographs and considerable research and documentation relating to Tom Dresser 'The Yorkshire V.C.'. Amongst the photographs in the possession the Beck Isle Museum is the one below, of Private Dresser wearing his VC.

Private Tom Dresser, VC

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