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Person Details
He was the Hucknall-born son of Frederick Thorne, of Gower, Swansea, Wales.
13 Nov 1916
816136 - CWGC Website
Lance Sergeant
24th Bn Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)
Lance Sergeant William Edwin Thorne, 24th Battalion (2nd Sportsman's) Royal Fusiliers, was killed in action on 13th November 1916. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
The regimental history records the circumstances of the action: “The 24th Battalion alone took part in the initial advance. As the left battalion of the 5th Brigade their flank was influenced by the failure further north. At 5.15 a.m. the attacking companies left the trenches in a dense fog, reformed in No Man's Land, and moved forward with the general advance at 5.45 a.m. The barrage was followed closely, the men being within 20 yards of it over the whole battalion front. Some shells, indeed, fell short and caused casualties, but the men followed coolly at a walking pace into the German front line trenches, and a numerous dug-out population emerged to surrender. The troops went on, and at 6.15 had taken the major part of their objective, the Green line — the German third line system. C and D Companies were cleaning up the trenches. It was early realised that the assault on the left flank had been unsuccessful, and all trenches leading north were blocked. This advance, though not spectacular, was useful in the general scheme of things; and it had not been achieved without considerable losses. On the 14th the battalion's positions were taken over by the supporting battalion, the 2nd Oxford and Bucks.” Pte. John Thompson, 24th Battalion (2nd Sportsman’s) Royal Fusiliers, wrote of some of his experiences on the Somme in a letter to the local press. He recorded the deaths of two friends at Beaumont Hamel on 13th November 1916 the following article was published in the Notts Local News published 27th January 1917 :- “EXPERIENCES AT THE FRONT. “The following letter has been received from Private J. W. Thompson, R.F. (Sportsman’s Battalion), in which he refers to some of his experiences, and states he was with Sergeant Thorne (whose photograph has been published in our columns) when he was killed. He says:- “Being an old Hucknallite, and always receiving your paper weekly, I thought you might find space for a few lines in your welcome paper. I am not permitted to mention things that I should like, so I shall have to put it the best way possible and short. “At the outset, having been out at the front, in and out of the trenches, for the past 14 months, I have had some weird experiences, and should very much like to change with some of the can’t-be-spared-sort-of-men that appear in your columns. They would readily realise there was a war if they had but a few days in the trenches with coal boxes flying about them. Well do I remember on the Somme, it was Somme do – how all through one night we waited to attack at dawn. The waiting was much worse than the attack but when the word was given how they all went over like one. The worst parts of these attacks are the counter-attacks by the enemy, then he gets the wind up (common saying for “fear”) and then you suddenly come to the thought he has still a few shells left. It was one of the coal boxes in _____ wood that killed three privates and wounded the Sergt.-Major. Little did I know two had gone for the doctor, and, sad to relate, never returned, that I was sent, and pleased to say returned along a road that was being simply riddled with shells. “So much for the Somme. We next prepared ourselves for anything else that came along, and eventually found ourselves in the Ancre battle. With a bit of luck I came out of that all right, but lost my two chums, well-known in football and golfing circles by the names of Billy Thorne (killed) and B. Warhurst (missing) late Basford United F. C. It was rather hard, considering you have had 14 months with its trials and troubles. Thorne was about to leave us to take up a commission, after having risen to the rank of sergeant.” Above article is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
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