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680406 DVR. W. H. THIRTLE.  R.F.A.


William Henry Thirtle was born in September 1890 in Preston and baptised at Preston St Thomas on 8 October.  His father was William Thirtle (b. 1846 in Norwich), a professional soldier.  His mother was Annie Parmenter (b. 1855 in Witham, Essex).  In 1874, William and Annie had a daughter, Priscilla, when they were living in Aldershot, though they were not yet married.  They married in India the following year.  While in India, the couple had four more daughters: Alice (b. 1876), Ellen Elizabeth (b. 1879), Ada (b. 1880) and Georgina (b. 1883).  If William served 12 years in the Army, he would have returned to England in 1886.  There the family settled in Preston and they had another daughter, Alma (b. 1888), then three boys: William Henry, followed by Alfred (b. 1893) and Percy (b. 1897).  In 1911, William and Annie were living at 23 Elizabeth Street, Preston, together with their three sons, and daughter Georgina, her husband and their three children.  10 people living in a cramped, terraced house.  William Henry was working as a finisher in a boot-making factory.  His younger brother Percy was working in the same factory.  The other brother, Alfred, was working as a labourer in a biscuit factory.  All three boys served in the Army during the War; William and Percy in the Royal Field Artillery and Alfred in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.  (Incidentally, William snr died in 1912).


Both William and Henry must have done some time in the Territorials before the War and from their service numbers it looks as though Percy actually signed up before William.  Percy was assigned service number 1332, which later became 680281; William was assigned 1552, which later became 680406.  Both men were posted to “A” Battery of 276 Brigade and both men landed in France with 55th Division at the end of September 1915.  Percy remained with A/276 for the rest of the War and was demobbed in 1919.  He returned to Preston, married in 1925 and died in 1954.


William, however, did not remain with A/276.  At some point he was transferred to 1107 (Howitzer) Battery in 21st Brigade.  21st Brigade came under orders of 4th (Quetta) Division of the Indian Army and 1107 Battery was based in Quetta from June to December 1918.  Quetta was then in India but since partition it has been in Pakistan and it is close to the border with Afghanistan.  William died there, ‘of disease’, on 25 October 1918.  He was 28 years old (CWGC incorrectly records his age as 26).


Rank:  Driver

Service No:  680406

Date of Death: 25/10/1918

Age:  28

Regiment/Service:  Royal Field Artillery, 1107 Bty, 21st Bde.

Cemetery/memorial reference:   Face 1.


Additional Information:  Son of Mrs. Annie Thirtle, of 23 Elizabeth Street, Preston, Lancs. (Buried Quetta Govt. Cem. XXVII. 2689.).


The third brother was 200997 SGT. A. THIRTLE. L.N.LAN.R.  Alfred enlisted in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was originally assigned service number 3235, which was later changed to 200997.  He was posted to 2/4th Battalion.  2/4Bn came under orders of 170th Brigade in the 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division.  170th Brigade landed in France with the Division in February 1917.  His infantry brigade was supported by 286Bde RFA.  Alf survived the War, married in 1929 and died in 1971.

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