Frederick William Thorne grew up in the Moulsham area of Chelmsford. He married there in 1904, having worked as a turner and went on to have four children. The family emigrated to Canada in 1909 and while there he worked as a machinist. He joined the Canadian army in November 1915 and was killed in action near Vimy in September 1916. His parents lived in Rochford Road.
THORNE, FREDERICK WILLIAM,
Private, 1st Battalion Canadian Infantry (Western Ontario Regiment)
Frederick and Angelina’s four children included David Walter Thorne, born in Chelmsford in May 1905. Frederick emigrated to Canada in 1909. the following year he was joined by his wife and son. The 1911 Canadian census found them at Latchford in the delightfully named district of Nipissing in Ontario where Frederick was a milkman.
Meanwhile, back in England, the 1911 census recorded Frederick’s mother and five siblings together at 34 Rochford Road in Chelmsford. There his mother was employed looking after the house, while sister Kate worked for Marconi’s and brother Thomas was a houseboy.
While in Ontario, Canada Angelina had other children: Victor George Thorne (born on 16th June 1911 at 5th Street, Latchford at which time Frederick was an engineer), Stanley Thorne (born c1914), Freda Thorne (born c1917), and Kate Thorne (born in 1920).
Frederick enlisted into the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force on 24th November 1915 aged 33. At the time of enlistment he was married to Angelina Thorne of Latchford, Ontario, Canada and employed as a machinist. He had no previous military experience. His description at the time showed that he was five feet seven inches tall, had an expanded chest of 36 inches, was of dark complexion with grey eyes, dark hair and belonged to the Church of England.
He was killed less than a year later, on 23rd September 1916, while serving as Private 177858 in the 1st Battalion of the Canadian Infantry (Western Ontario Regiment). He was aged 34.
His death was reported in the Essex Weekly News of 27th October 1916:
“Pte. Frederick W. Thorne. Canadian Grenadiers, eldest son of Mrs. Thorne, Rochford-road, Chelmsford, was killed in action on Sept. 23, aged 34. He leaves a widow – who was a Broomfield lady – and four children, who are at present in Canada.”
The same edition also carried a family announcement of his death:
“Thorne. On September 23rd, killed in action, Frederick William Thorne. of the Canadian Grenadiers, eldest son of Mrs. Thorne of Rochford-road, Chelmsford, and beloved husband of Angelina Thorne (nee Harris) of Broomfield, aged 34. Deeply mourned by his Family, Mother, Brothers and Sisters - R.I.P.”
A week later the Essex County Chronicle carried a similar report:
“Pt. Frederick W. Thorne, Canadian Grenadiers, eldest son of Mrs. Thorne, Rochford Road, Chelmsford, was killed in action on Sept. 23, aged 34. He leaves a widow, who was a Broomfield lady - and four children.”
Frederick has no known grave and is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford and the Vimy Memorial. He was not commemorated by the war memorial at St. John’s Church in Moulsham.
Frederick was born in Chelmsford on 28th September 1882, the eldest son of Thomas Josiah Thorne and Louisa Thorne (nee Perry). He was baptised at St. John’s Church, Moulsham on 27th December 1882, at which time his father was a fitter of The Friars, Chelmsford.
His father had been born in 1859 in Witham; his mother had been born in 1862 in Springfield. The couple had married on 28th September 1879 at St. John’s Church, East Dulwich. At the time both lived in Camberwell and Frederick’s father was an engineer. A year later they had been living at 15 The Friars in Chelmsford.
Frederick’s siblings (all Chelmsford-born) were: Louisa Mary Thorne (baptised at St. John’s Church, Moulsham on 6th March 1880), Joseph Townsend Thorne (born in 1884 and baptised at St. John’s Church, Moulsham on 4th March 1885), Edith Mary Thorne (born in 1890), Kate Louisa Thorne (born in 1894 and baptised at St. John’s Church, Moulsham on 6th June 1896), Thomas David Thorne (born on 2nd September 1896, died in 1984), Dorothy
Florence Thorne (born in 1899), Charles Robert Thorne (born on 2nd December 1900, died in 1992), and George Perry Thorne (born in 1905).
The 1891 census found seven year-old Frederick living with his mother, brother and a servant at 6 Blackfriars Place in Chelmsford. His mother was described as the wife of an electric light fitter. Frederick’s father was lodging at the time in Southampton, Hampshire where he was described as an electrician. A decade later the 1901 census listed Frederick’s mother and six siblings at Friars Place in Chelmsford. Frederick’s brother Joseph was a carpenter, but like 1891 their father was away, this time working as an electrical engineer in Reading, Berkshire.
Frederick married Angelina (also known as Angela) Harris, the daughter of Walter and Hannah Harris of Chelmsford on 15th October 1904 at St. John’s Church in Moulsham. At the time Frederick was aged 22, working as turner and living at 8 The Friars in Chelmsford. His 20 year-old bride, the daughter of Walter Harris, had been born in Broomfield in 1884 and at the time of the 1901 census had been a housemaid for David Cecil Gibbs at the Vineyards in Great Baddow.
His mother was listed in the 1918 register of electors at 34 Rochford Road, (pictured). She had been there since at least 1910 and remained at the address until her death in 1950. Frederick’s father died in 1936.
The 1921 Canadian Census found Frederick’s widow living at 5th Street in Latchford.
His son Victor, who was a miner, died on 23rd July 1930 from septic pneumonia, aged 25, and unmarried at Cobalt Street, Buckle in Ontario.
Frederick’s widow died in 1962, aged 79.