Julian was the second son of Professor Geoffrey Langdale Bickersteth and his wife Jean Sorley. Professor Bickersteth made a renowned translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy. He was Professor of English Literature at Edinburgh University, from 1941-7 and, later, held the same Chair at Aberdeen University. Julian was born in Aberdeen in 1922 and had two younger sisters and a younger brother.

He was educated at Marlborough and matriculated in 1941. He played bridge in the University match versus Cambridge.

He was a Lieutenant in the King's Royal Rifle Corps 11th (lst Bn. The Queen's Westminsters) Bn. when he was killed near Athens on 4 January 1945.

He is buried in Phaleron War Cemetery Plot 19 B 13.

His brother, A.C. (Tony) Bickersteth (1920-48) also at Marlborough and Christ Church, served with the Gurkha Rifles in India and Burma during the Second World War, but on 20 July 1948, four days before his 28th birthday, whilst on a walking holiday in the Savoy Alps, was struck by lightning and killed.

The Bickersteths were a family noted for six generations for their tradition of service to the Church of England. The Papers of the Bickersteth family, 1815-1976 were given to the Bodleian Library over a period from 1976 until 1998.

Amongst the Papers are,
Letters to Geoffrey and Jean, 1932-44, from their son Julian Dunlop Bickersteth (1922-45)  Shelfmarks: MSS. Eng. c. 6442, d. 3156-9, e. 3218-21.

The Opie Collection in the Bodleian Library holds a copy of The Arabian Nights which bears the inscription “Julian D Bickersteth Christmas 1934 from cousin Janet”. It was acquired on 20 August 1977.