Company Serjeant Major 13568 Charles Aldridge Thorne, DCM

Thorne Charles 96 401x600 Thorne Charles 96 433x600
Photograph courtesy of Charles' great granddaughter Kim Hyde.

Died of Wounds on Sunday, 13th October 1918, age 39.
Buried in Grave II. A. 8. at Honnechy British Cemetery, Nord, France.

7th Bn., Wiltshire Regiment. 150th Brigade of 50th Division.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Swindon, Wilts., Resident: Swindon, Wilts.

First landed France & Flanders, 21st September 1915.
Medal entitlement: Distinguished Conduct Medal & Bar, MID,1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/572446/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Charles Aldridge registered March quarter 1879 in Dudley.

1881 Census
7 Lorne Street, Sedgley, Staffs.
Charles Aldridge (43, Puddler, born Pelsall), his wife Mary (42, born Oldbury), and their children: Sarah (14, born Tipton), Mary Jane (12, born Sedgley) and Charles (2, born Sedgley).

1891 Census
16 Sand Street, Greets Green, West Bromwich, Staffs.
Charles Aldridge (54, Puddler, born Walsall), his wife Mary (51, born Titford), and their son Charles (12, born Sedgley).

1901 Census - Cannot trace.

Marriage of Charles Aldridge Thorne and Catherine O'Connor (born Cork, Ireland) registered March quarter 1907 in Winchester.
Children Massie, Victor Charles, Patrick, Katherine. Lived at 27 Stanier Street, Swindon.

1911 Census
1 St Margaret's Road, Bishopstoke, Hampshire.
Lodging with John and Sarah Carpenter (Charles' sister) were:
Charles Thorne (31, married 4 years with 3 children, Labourer in Fitting Department - Railway Construction, born Princes End, Staffs) and his son Victor Charles Thorne (2, born Hampshire).
Sarah Carpenter was born in Princes End as Sarah Aldridge, and was Charles' sister. She had married John Harry Carpenter, March quarter 1890, registered in West Bromwich.

Personal Data

Charles Aldridge Thorne was born as Charles Aldridge, but added Thorne sometime before 1907 when he married using the revised name. By that time he had moved south as the marriage was registered in Winchester, and he subsequently lived in Swindon.
He had worked at the Swindon Employment Exchange as a clerk, and is commemorated on the Memorial to the Staff of the Ministry of Labour, now hanging in Caxton House, Tothill Street, London SW1.

Charles volunteered for the Wiltshires and was allocated to the 7th Battalion. They landed in France in September 1915, but in November 1915 they were sent to Salonika where they remained until June 1918 when transferred back to France.

The 7th Wiltshire's War Diary for 25th April 1917 (with thanks to www.thewardrobe.org.uk) contains a reference to Charles Thorne, it would appear that this action was to lead to his awards later in the year.
Greece, DOIRAN Sector.
On the night of 24th/25th April the Battalion attacked O1 and O2 trenches, 12th HANTS attacked O3, 10th DEVONS PETIT COURONNE.

'C' Company. Objective Z8 - Z10.
The Company formed up outside our wire at 2115. Liaison was established and on the barrage lifting the company entered the enemy trenches and drove him out after lively fighting with bombs during which serious losses were inflicted. A portion of this sector was cleared but owing to lack of co-operation on left flank ('D' Coy being held up by the uncut wire) the company was forced, on the delivery of a vigorous enemy counter attack, to evacuate the enemy's lines. A rally of the company was effected 50 yards from the enemy's trenches but the attack failed owing to heavy casualties, all the Company officers and 8 senior N.C.Os being either killed or wounded. CSM THORNE who was left in command saw that there was nothing for it but to withdraw to our lines.

Charles Thorne was Mentioned in Dispatches on 28th November 1917. The award of his Distinguished Conduct Medal was listed in the London Gazette of 18 February 1918, and his Bar to Distinguished Conduct Medal on 12th March 1919.

London Gazette 28th November 1917
General Headquarters,
British Salonika Force,
25th October, 1917.
My Lord,
I have the honour to submit herewith a list of the names of the Officers, Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, Men and Nursing Staff, whose services I desire to bring to your Lordship's notice for gallant conduct and distinguished services rendered during the past six months.
I have the honour to be,
My Lord,
Your Lordship's most obedient Servant,
Commanding in Chief,
British Salonika Force

Thorne, No. 13568 Co. Serjt.-Maj. C. A.


DCM, London Gazette 18th February 1918
13568 C.S./M. C. Thorne, Wilts. R. (Swindon).
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. After all his company officers had been killed or wounded he took command, rallying the company after heavy casualties had been sustained, and keeping the men together. His pluck and determination inspired confidence, and set a very fine example at a time when it was most needed.


DCM Bar, London Gazette 12th March 1919
13568 C./S./M. C.A. Thorne, D.C.M., 7th Bn., Wilts. R. (Swindon).
For most conspicuous gallantry and good work during operations near Gouy from 4th to 6th October, 1918. He showed the greatest dash throughout the attack on 4th October, and, although wounded, continued to carry on, consolidating the new line. After having had his wound dressed he returned to his company, and throughout the night materially assisted his company commander in every way under very heavy shellfire. He set a very fine example to his company throughout the day and night under most trying circumstances.

A little late in the day, the War Diary of 23rd January 1918 says,
Greece, DOVA TEPE.

Mentioned in Despatches

Awarded D.C.M.

Action resulting in his death

During the first 10 days of October 1918, the 7th Wiltshires had been moving forward from the Somme, about 30 miles roughly eastwards, to Reumont to the south of Le Cateau.

On the 12th and 13th October, the 7th Wilts were in reserve to 50th Division. Being in reserve did not mean time off, as working parties were a constant for troops in 'reserve'.

The Thorne family have a story that Charles was killed by shell fire which fell in the transport lines, as he was returning from duty in the front line. Charles is recorded as dying from his wounds, and he is buried in Honnechy British Cemetery which is close to Reumont.

Newspaper Cuttings