Staff Sergeant Thomas Edward Bishop


The information I have on Thomas Bishop derives mainly from two of the booklets he wrote. He was born in Hallow in Worcestershire on 1st April 1864. His father Thomas was a bricklayer, his mother was Eliza Taylor. By 1881, it appears his mother his died, his father has moved to Staffordshire and remarried. His older brother William has moved north with his father.  Thomas, however, stayed behind with his grandparents William Bishop and Jane (née Tomkins) in Broadheath.

He joined the Leicestershire Regiment in 1881, but joined a draft of the 52nd Oxfordshire Light infantry stationed at the Curragh in Ireland. However by the end of 1882 the unit, after moving to Limerick, was posted to Bangalore in India. In June 1884 he applied for a 6 months training course in gymnastics in Poona, and received a first class certificate in gymnastics and fencing

On return to Bangalore, was then sent to Quetta, which was on a war footing, including an 84 mile march through the Bolan Pass, though apparently saw no action in 10 months. Next he was moved to Poona, finally in 1887 was sent home.

On arrival at Shorncliffe, he was made a Corporal and Gymnastic Instructor, his Indian first class certificate was apparently equivalent to a home second class, so he trained at Aldershot to gain a first class certificate, was best all round man, and received record marks. He rejoined his battalion in Parkhurst, Isle of Wight. He became Lance Sergeant, then full Sergeant, and was Assistant Instructor of Gymnasium. He won first place in a gymnastic competition, also was part of the honour guard for Queen Victoria, on the visit of unnamed foreign visitors. While based there in June quarter 1889, he married Annie Rowe whose parents were William Rowe and Jane Ward, though Jane may have married more than once..

Following a short posting to Gosport, Thomas joined the gymnastic staff at Aldershot in January 1892, leaving his original battalion. This led to an appointment in July 1892 as 1st Class Sergeant Instructor in Gymnastics, in charge of Garrison Gymnasium Western Heights, Dover. This appointment lasted until 1902. Every year he appeared in the gymnastic display in Islington. He also appeared in a gymnastic display before Queen Victoria.

Retiring from the Army 8th August 1902, he wrote three booklets, A Soldier’s Career, Adventures and Incidents, and Ten Minutes Modern Home Exercise. His address at this time was in Lewisham. He had five children, Alfred Ernest, born in September quarter 1894, and May, born in September quarter 1898, both born in Dover. After leaving the army, he lived in Egham, then Lewisham, Surrey. His son Thomas was born in June quarter 1903 at Cooper's Hill in Egham, and Annie, born in September quarter 1903, and Florence , born in December quarter 1908 were born in Lewisham.

By 1911 he was the gymnastic instructor for the University of London.

It has now been found that the family emigrated via Canada, ending up in San Francisco USA

Thomas Edward Bishop died on 13th April 1943 at the family home 634 Clayton Street, San Francisco, California, USA. This was discovered from his army records.

Annie died on 20th July 1953 at San Francisco

The children were as follows: -

Alfred Ernest Bishop was born on 13th August 1893 at the Shaft Barracks in Dover. By the time of the 1930 USA Census he was divorced, it is not known whether he married in England, Canada or USA or the name of his wife. Alfred died on 27th June 1965 at San Francisco.

May Bishop was born on 8th July 1898 at the Shaft Barracks in Dover. She married Thomas Walter Jensen of Danish extraction but born in Shanghai, on 22nd December 1922 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. She died 19th December 1973 at San Francisco.

Thomas Bishop was born on 6th June 1903 at Cooper's Hill, near Egham, Surrey, he married Vera Masur on 11th August 1928 at San Francisco, Thomas died on 7th April 1953 at Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon USA. Vera was born in Alaska in 1903. She died on 28th August 1967 in Portland Oregon. They had at least two children , Vera F Bishop, born San Francisco in 1930, and Florence A Bishop born San Francisco in 1931.

Annie Bishop was born on 25th March 1906 at 84 Algernon Road, Lewisham, London. She did not marry and died on 8th January 1986 in San Francisco.

Florence Bishop was born on 8th October 1908 at 84 Algernon Road, Lewisham, London. She also did not marry and died on 13th January 1978 at San Francisco.


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