|Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derbys Regiment)||29343||16th Battalion|
Photo Lea Mills postcard
Harry Thorpe lived at Shelford House, Lea. His parents were Gertrude and William Thorpe. He had an older brother, William, and a sister Kathleen (Nellie). His brother was wounded in the War. His grandfather was a blacksmith in Lea. Harry worked in the Dressing Department of Lea Mills and enlisted on 20th August 1915, aged eighteen.
His initial posting was to Bakewell and on 17th September 1915, some three weeks after he joined, he wrote ‘we had a route march to Eyam, Wednesday, and had great sport cooking our dinner.’ From Bakewell, he joined D. Coy 19th Sherwood Foresters, Hut 2, North Camp at Ripon. By 17th December 1915, he was thinking that he would finish his training in that posting and on 20th December, he was expecting to get his Christmas leave sometime towards the end of January 1916, although he had clearly had some leave.
‘I brought my parcel back with me. It is very good of the people, I am sure. I have also had a parcel from the Mill.’ This suggests that the firm was providing parcels to some its former employees before October 1916, the date recorded in the parcels book.
On 3rd March 1916, he wrote ‘On the whole we are having a good time here. They have sent a lot of drafts from here to the 16th and 17th Battalions at ----. W Curzon is down here. I should like to know where W.Broomhead is. I wrote to him about a month ago at Derby, but he hasn’t replied yet.’
On 12th April 1916, he informed the vicar that he was leaving (for France on) Friday. ‘I have had a good training and am now going to do my bit.’
He sailed for France in April with B Coy, 6th Platoon, 16th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters. By June 9th, 1916, he had served for a spell in the trenches and, at the stand down, was appreciating the possibility of a full night’s sleep. ‘We are billeted in barns just now: they are very comfortable to the trenches. W.Curzon is in the same company.’ We know from W.Curzon, that the company was ‘still in the trenches’ on 14th July 1916. It was not until 24th July that Harry Thorpe reported that he was having a rest ‘after a long stay in the trenches.’
This was at the height of the Battle of the Somme and it is the last we hear from Harry Thorpe. The Firm sent him a parcel of groceries in October 1916, but this was never acknowledged. He was registered as ‘missing’ in the Parish Magazine in November 1916 and the Firm continued to list him as ‘missing’ even after the Armistice in November 1918. He died in the Battle of the Somme on 8th October 1916, aged only 18/19. He was killed only a day after Bert Sheldon, who was of a similar age and also a former employee at the Mill. Harry is buried at Mill Road Cemetery, Thiepval, France Grave/Memorial X11. F7. Both Harry and Bert are remembered on the Thiepval memorial.
Harry Alfred Thorpe is also remembered on the Lea Mills Memorial, on the Roll of Honour and the Memorial in Christ Church and on the War Memorial above the Memorial Garden.
George Wigglesworth Notes
Harold Alfred Thorpe was son of William and Gertrude Thorpe, he had a brother William (who was wounded) and sister Kathleen. His grandfather was a blacksmith at Lea.
Derbyshire Courier16 December 1916
Pte H Thorpe, Lea, missing
Medal Card Index
He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
|Date of Death||08/10/16|
|Casualty type||Commonwealth War Dead|
Harry is remembered on several war memorials –
Photos Peter Patilla
1901: Lea Lane
1911: Slaley, Bonsall
|Nellie||Thorpe||daughter||16||Spinner hosiery factory||Lea|
|Harry||Thorpe||son||14||Mill hand hosiery factory||Lea|