Second Lieutenant Richard Compton-Thornhill

Second Lieutent Richard Anthony Compton-Thornton, 1st Battalion, Scots Guards. He was killed in action in France on 14th September 1914 during the Battle of the Aisne, aged 22  He was the only child of Sir Anthony and Lady Compton-Thornhill of Carham Hall, Carham, Cornhill-on-Tweed and was engaged to Mary Pollen He was a regular soldier and had been educated at Eton and Sandhurst. He fell in action during the first serious action of the Battalion which had been taking part in a general attack on the Chemin des Dames. A German counter attack developed and the Battalion helped to repel this strong thrust. Casualties on this day were 3 Officers and 16 Other Ranks killed with 2 Officers and 86 Other Ranks wounded with 12 missing. He is commemorated on the La-Ferte-Jouarre Memorial to the Missing. This Memorial commemorates the 3,780 Officers and Men of the British Expeditionary Force who fell in the Battles of Mons, Le Cateau,The Marne and the Aisne  between August and early October 1914 and have no known grave. Captain Thorne of the Battalion told his wife in a letter home how the Second Lieutenant met his death. ” He was wounded and together with some of our men and the Back Watch and I believe, a few Coldstream, had crawled into a pit to avoid further fire. The Germans came up and fired on this party of our men ( 35-40 in all )  and all wounded. Dick Compton Thornhill and a Black Watch officer put up a handkerchief as a signal to them, upon which the Germans walked in and shot the whole lot point blank. Two men escaped by pretending to be dead. ” ( This information was taken from Randall Nichol’s excellent book ” Till the Trumpet Sounds ” The Scots Guards 1914-1919 in Their Own Words, Volume 1 ) The photographs show British troops on the Aisne.

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