Private John Henry Thorne

Private John Henry Thorne ,16th ( Service ) Battalion, Royal Scots. He was killed in action at Fleurbaix, France on 9th April 1918, aged 42, during the German Spring Offensive on the River Lys. He was the son of Esau and Jane Thorne of Aylesbury and the husband of Marie Thorne, Pimlico. He is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium and has a commemorative gravestone erected in Lennel Churchyard, Coldstream. His widow gave a stained glass window in his memory to St Mary and All Souls Church in Coldstream.  On that day the Germans attacked near Armentieres and forced the Battalion with other Units  of the 34th Division to withdraw to avoid being cut off. Penetrations were met with vigorous counterattacks but ultimately the Battalion was forced back to the Armentieres- Warenton railway line. ( 16th Royal Scots was known as McRae’s Battalion after its founder Sir George McRae. It was a “Pals” Battalion and originally consisted of professional footballers and their supporters of teams such as Heart of Midlothian, Hibernian, Raith Rovers, Falkirk and Dunfermline. By 1918 however there were few original members left. The photos show Allied troops in makeshift defences preparing to resist the German advance.

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