Horace Thurlby

Rank Lance Sergeant
Service No TF/1738
Date of Death 24/09/1916
Age 20
Regiment/Service Middlesex Regiment 1st/7th Battalion
Memorial Thiepval Memorial, France. This mememorial to the missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 United Kingdom and South African officers and men who died in the Somme sector before 20th March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.  

William George Thurlby (b. 1873) and Mary Elizabeth, nee Jackson, (1873–1949) were married on 25th March 1895 at Anne's Church, Poole's Park, Islington. Horace was born in early 1896 in Finsbury Park, Islington. He had two younger brothers, Harry (b.1902) and John (b.1905), who were also born in Islington.

At the time of the 1911 Census the family were living at 10 Squires Lane, Finchley. Horace’s father was employed as a ticket collector on the Great Northern Railway and he himself was a butcher’s errand boy.

On 10th February 1913 Horace joined the Territorials, 7th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment. Though only 17, he listed his age as 18 years and 1 month, with his occupation being a porter at West Smithfield. At the outbreak of war his battalion moved to the Isle of Grain, the easternmost point of the Hoo Peninsula in the district of Medway, Kent. In September it moved to Gibraltar, arriving on 17th. In February 1915 the battalion returned to England and were based in Barnet.

On 12th March 1915 the battalion returned to active service, landing at Le Havre, France, the next day and two days later being attached to 23rd Brigade in 8th Division. On 8th February 1916 the battalion was transferred to 167th Brigade in 56th (London) Division.

The Division took part in the battles of Flers-Courcelette (15th-22nd September) and Morval (25th-27th September), in which the Division captured Combles. Horace was killed in action between these two battles.

At the time of Horace’s death, his family were living at 27 Dudley Road but in 1918 they were residing at 138 Squires Lane. On 14th November 1919 the family was living at 6 Montpelier Road.