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George Frederick THORPE

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Surname: THORPE

Forename(s): George Frederick

Place of Birth: Sutton-in-Craven, Yorkshire

Service No: 31013

Rank: Sergeant

Regiment / Corps / Service: Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

Battalion / Unit: 219th Coy

Division: 32nd Division

Age: 20

Date of Death: 1917-09-11

Awards: ---

CWGC Grave / Memorial Reference: I. B. 10.


CWGC Memorial: ---

Non-CWGC Burial: ---

Local War Memorial: COWLING, YORKSHIRE


Additional Information:

George Frederick Thorpe was the son of Clemishaw and Mary Maria Thorpe, née Lund. Clemishaw was born at Hoyland (Nether) and Mary at Cowling, Yorkshire.

1901 Cowling, Yorkshire Census: Sun Street - George F. Thorpe, aged 4 years, born Sutton, Yorkshire, son of Clemishaw and Mary M. Thorpe.

1911 Cowling, Yorkshire Census: 193, Keighley Road - George Fredrick Thorpe, aged 14 years, born Sutton, Yorkshire, son of Clemishaw and [stepson of] Elizabeth Thorpe. [Clemishaw had married Elizabeth Snowden in 1907.]

The British Army Service Record for George Frederick Thorpe exists but may be incomplete.

British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards: A/Sgt George F. Thorpe, 31013, Machine Gun Corps.

Data Source: Local War Memorial


Entry in West Yorkshire Pioneer Illustrated War Record:

THORPE, Sergeant George F., aged 21, W.Y.R., Keighley Road, [Cowling], died in clearing station, France, 1917.


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Sergeant George Frederick THORPE

Sergeant George Frederick THORPE

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

Divisional Sign / Service Insignia: 32nd Division

Divisional Sign / Service Insignia: 32nd Division

Data from Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 - 1919 Records

Soldiers Died Data for Soldier Records

Surname: THORPE

Forename(s): George Frederick

Born: Dutton, Yorks

Residence: Cowling

Enlisted: Keighley

Number: 31013

Rank: Sergt

Regiment: Machine Gun Corps

Battalion: (Infantry)


Died Date: 11/09/17

Died How: Died of wounds

Theatre of War: France & Flanders

Notes: Formerly 20/80, W. Yorks Regt.

Data from Commonwealth War Graves Commission Records

CWGC Data for Soldier Records

Surname: THORPE

Forename(s): George Frederick

Country of Service: United Kingdom

Service Number: 31013

Rank: Serjeant

Regiment: Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

Unit: 219th Coy.

Age: 20


Died Date: 11/09/1917

Additional Information: Son of Mr. and Mrs. Clemishaw Thorpe, of 195, Keighley Rd., Cowling, Yorks. (CWGC Headstone Personal Inscription: EVER REMEMBERED)


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Cowling United Methodist Church ‘Bar Chapel’ graveyard

Cowling United Methodist Church ‘Bar Chapel’ graveyard

Family gravestone

Cowling United Methodist Church ‘Bar Chapel’ graveyard

Cowling United Methodist Church ‘Bar Chapel’ graveyard

Family gravestone - detail of memorial inscription

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05 November 1915

COWLING – Enlistments

Laurie Hardy, Braeside, Cowling, principle character in the Cowling Merrymakers, and during the summer a leading character in the Waterloo Pierrots, Bridlington, and George Thorpe, Keighley Road, Cowling, comedian in the Cowling Merrymakers, have enlisted in the 20th West Yorkshire Regiment (Bradford Pals). Frank Lomax, Middleton, Cowling, has joined the Home Defence Corps.

03 November 1916

COWLING – Pte. George F. Thorpe Wounded

Mr. Clem Thorpe, of 195, Keighley Road, Cowling, has received an intimation that his son, Pte. George F. Thorpe, of the Machine Gun Corps, has been wounded in the right leg, and is now lying at the 1st Canadian Base Hospital, France. After repeated rejections Pte Thorpe enlisted in the West Yorkshires on November 1st, 1915, was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps on April 14th, 1916, and went to France on June 10th last. Before enlisting Pte. Thorpe was shorthand clerk and typist with the Keighley Gas and Oil Engine Co. He was also a member of the well-known group of entertainers, ‘The Cowling Merrymakers,’ being a very successful comedian. Information to hand on Tuesday morning, showed that Pte. Thorpe has reached the 1st Northern General Hospital, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

21 September 1917

THORPE – September 11th died at a Casualty Clearing Station in France from gas shell poisoning, Sergeant George F. Thorpe, West Yorkshire Regiment, son of Mr. C. Thorpe, Keighley Road, Cowling, aged 20 years.

21 September 1917


Mr. Clem Thorpe, of Keighley Road, Cowling, has, during the week, received news of the death of his son, Sergt. George F. Thorpe, who was severely gassed on the 9th of September, and died at a casualty clearing station from gas shell poisoning on the 11th of September without regaining consciousness.

Sergt. Thorpe enlisted on the 11th of November 1915 in the West Yorkshire Regiment. On the 15th May 1916 he was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps, and went out to France on the 11th June 1916 as a Gunner. He was wounded on the Somme on October 15th 1916, and discharged from hospital in this country on December 8th 1916. He rejoined his unit at Grantham on 18th December 1916, and left Aldershot for France on the 8th of March 1917. He was made Lance Corporal on December 26th 1916, was promoted to Corporal on July 26th 1917, and was made Sergeant on August 2nd 1917, both these latter promotions being for special merit and bravery.

In his 21st year deceased was, before enlistment, employed by the Keighley Gas and Oil Engine Co. as a clerk. For a few years he acted as one of the recording secretaries in the United Methodist Sunday School, and was very much interested in both church and schoolwork. He was of a very cheery disposition, and deservedly popular amongst a wide circle of friends. His loss will be keenly felt.

28 September 1917

COWLING – In Memoriam

An impressive and well-attended service was conducted at the United Methodist Church on Sunday morning by the Rev. Wm. Whitehead (pastor) to the memory of the late Sergeant Geo. F. Thorpe, who had died by poisoning from a gas shell in Flanders. Sergt. Thorpe had been connected with the church and was one of the recording secretaries and a willing worker in the Sunday School, where his loss will be much felt. The choir sang the anthem ‘Crossing the bar’ and the organist (Miss F. Whitaker, A.T.C.L.) played the Dead March in ‘Saul.’

09 November 1917

COWLING – The Late Lieut. Hall-Watt

On Sunday morning at the Parish Church, the Vicar conducted a memorial service to the memory of the late Second Lieutenant R. Hall-Watt of the Grenadier Guards. The choir sang the anthem ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace’. The deceased officer was the eldest son and heir of the late Mr. E. B. B. Hall-Watt, of Bishop Burton, Beverley, and of Carr Head, Cowling. He was killed in action on October 13th in Flanders, and was 19 years of age. Educated at Eton and Sandhurst, the deceased was posted to the Grenadier Guards in the early part of this year, and went out to France in August last. His decease is greatly lamented in the district, as it was hoped when he came of age he would have taken a personal interest in the Carr Head Estate.

The ‘Last Post’ was sounded by the buglers from the Church Lads’ Brigade, Colne. Col. Eyre and Mrs. Eyre (of Bishop Burton Hall, Beverley, the mother of the deceased officer), and also Mr. A. Hall-Watt, the deceased’s only brother, were represented by Mr. T. Washington Chambers, of Brighouse, the agent for the Carr Head and Morton Estates of the trustees of the late E.B.B. Hall-Watt, of Bishop Burton, the father of the deceased. A similar memorial service has been held at Bishop Burton Church on the 1st inst. The service at Cowling was also in memory of Gunner Coulson Fryer, Privates William Garner, Walter Snowden, and George Thorpe, all of Cowling, who have recently laid down their lives for King and Country. The Vicar alluded in feeling terms to the great loss which the relatives of the deceased officer and men had sustained.

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03 November 1916


Mr. C. Thorpe, of Keighley Road, Cowling, has received news that his son, Gunner Geo. F. Thorpe, has been wounded whilst fighting in France. Gunner Thorpe enlisted in November, 1914, in the 20th West Yorks. Infantry Regiment, P.W.O., as a private, and received his early training at Clipstone Camp, Nottingham. Afterwards the regiment was transferred to Blyth, Northumberland where Gunner Thorpe entered a machine gun corps as a volunteer, and accompanied his comrades out to France on June 10th. The corps was attached to the Dublin Fusiliers, and took part in the strenuous fighting which took place on the Somme in July. Gunner Thorpe has also seen much active service around Ypres, and again on the Somme at Le Transloy, where, during the early part of October, he received his wound. Before enlisting he was employed in the offices of the Keighley Gas and Oil Engine Company, and has obtained many successes in the studies of shorthand and book-keeping. Gunner Thorpe was wounded in the right leg, and is at present in the First Northern General Hospital, Armstrong College, Newcastle.

21 September 1917

THORPE – Sept. 11th, in a casualty clearing station in France, Sergt. George F. Thorpe, of the West Yorks. Regiment, son of Mr. Clem Thorpe, of Keighley Road, Cowling, in his 21st year.

21 September 1917


The sad news has been received of the death of Sergt. George F. Thorpe, son of Mr. Clem. Thorpe, of Keighley Road, Cowling, whilst fighting in France. On the 9th of September Sergt. Thorpe was severerly gassed, and without regaining consciousness died at a casualty clearing station from gas shell poisoning on Sept. 11th, in his 21st year.

Sergt. Thorpe, after several previous rejections, enlisted on Nov. 11th, 1915, in the West Yorks. Regiment. On May 15th he volunteered for the machine gun corps, was transferred, and went out to France as gunner on June 11th last. After going through most of the Somme battles, during which he escaped almost miraculously from death and severe injury, he was wounded and gassed at Le Transloy on October 15th, 1916. After a period of convalescence in this country he was discharged from hospital on Dec. 8th, 1916, and rejoined his unit at Grantham on Dec. 18th, 1916. He was made lance-corporal on Dec. 26th, 1916, and left Aldershot for France on March 8th last. On July 26th he was promoted to corporal for ‘‘devotion to duty” and “merit.” After remaining three days in a very critical and dangerous position, he returned with gun and gun-team intact, whereas every other gun in the section had been put out of action. The third stripe was obtained a few days later, on Aug. 2nd last, for “bravery and special gallantry” whilst fighting in the-trenches.

Before enlistment Sergt. Thorpe was employed as a clerk by the Keighley Gas and Oil Engine Co. He had from time to time obtained considerable success in various branches of learning, and on May 29th, 1915, obtained the teacher’s diploma, for Pitman’s shorthand. He had for a number of years been a highly successful student at the Glusburn Technical Institute. He was also for a time the recording secretary of the United Methodist Church, a prominent member and worker in the Church and Sunday-school. Sergt. Thorpe was perhaps more widely known as a public entertainer. He was a comedian of considerable ability, and achieved great individual success both inside and outside the district. He was connected at different periods with various troupes of entertainers. In the realm of sport also Sergt. Thorpe was not unknown. He was an enthusiastic member of the village Football Club for a number of years, and for two or three seasons was a valuable member of the team, playing hard, bustling football in the forward line. He was also connected for some time with the Cricket Club.

Sergt. Thorpe was widely popular not only in the parish of Cowling itself but in districts stretching farther afield. He was of an exceedingly bright and cheerful disposition, and his various accomplishments, his natural wit and humour, always attracted considerable attention. But more apparent than these were his clean living, love of honesty and truth, and true capacity for sincere friendship. These latter qualities ensured for him an unlimited number of friends, and his immediate family, and those who were his nearest and dearest friends, will miss him greatly.

The following letter has been received from Sergt. L. Hardy musketry instructor, Catterick Camp, Yorkshire, who is the leader of the well-known troupe of army entertainers, “The Zonques,” which since the commencement of the war has achieved considerable success in the raising of funds for war charities in the North of England. Sergt. Thorpe was, previous to leaving, for foreign service, a talented member of the troupe, and in co-operation with Sergt Hardy did much in the organisation of concerts, entertainments, etc.:– “I learn with intense sorrow and regret of the death of our dear comrade George. I have known him for years, and in the latter part of 1915, when the call came, we enlisted together, George having tried and failed three times previously. Well do I remember those first months of soldiering, how we determined to help each other and benefit from sincere comradeship and mutual attachment. George was never tired of doing me a good turn, and I always tried to repay him, and those early days in the army went along happily enough. He was always more than willing to help in any social work, and lent valuable aid to any concerts which I arranged. He was happy to do whatever he could. Sergeant Thorpe was well thought of by his comrades. He was always cheerful and ready for a joke, but withal smart on parade and good at his work. Since he joined the machine gun corps and left for France we have corresponded regularly. His letters were wonderfully cheerful and all showed the same indomitable spirit. His very last letter to me ended with these words. ‘I thank you for your good wishes for my safety and health, but don’t please fear for me. If the war lasts five years I shall come back safe. And now he has gone, but still his memory remains with me, and with those who are left and who were his comrades in the old regiment, on whose behalf I beg to tender my sincere sympathy to his family and friends. Personally I have lost a good friend, a staunch and honest pal, whom I can never forget. In the eyes of all his comrades he was a soldier, and above all a man.”

28 September 1917


THE LATE SERGEANT G. THORPE – On Sunday morning last a funeral service was held at the United Methodist Church on behalf of the late Sergt. George Thorpe, who recently met his death whilst on active service in France. The preacher was Rev. W. Whitehead, who spoke in glowing terms of the sterling qualities of the deceased soldier, and of the great loss which was so keenly felt by his family and many friends, and also by the Church itself. The courage, fortitude, and spirit of their late friend had been an example to them all, and the quality of his companionship, the charm of his manner and humour, would be greatly missed by his friends. The service throughout was very impressive, there being a good number of people present. The choir rendered the anthem ‘Crossing the bar’ (Woodward), and Miss Florence Whitaker (organist) played the ‘Dead march’ in ‘Saul.’ Marks of esteem, respect, and affection were in evidence in the shape of floral emblems, which were the offerings of friends.

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