Thornton, Godfrey St Leger


The fourth son of Henry Edward Thornton of 58 The Ropewalk, Nottingham and of Kegworth in Leicestershire. His mother, Katherine Thornton, was the daughter of Pascoe St Leger Grenfell of Taplow House, Buckinghamshire. He was the brother of Claude Cyprian Thornton (Coll. 1891-1897) and came to Chernocke House from the Reverend R P Baron’s school, Tyttenhanger Lodge, near St Albans.

He passed into Woolwich in January 1899 and in 1900 was gazetted as a Second Lieutenant to the Royal Field Artillery. After a short time in Ireland, in 1901 he sailed for South Africa with his Battery and took part in the closing stages of the Boer War, acting for a time as Assistant Provost-Marshal. From 1903 to 1913 he was in India, at Jhansi and Allahabad, serving for three years as Adjutant to 6 Brigade, RFA. He was present at the Delhi Durbar during the visit of King George V and Queen Mary.

On the outbreak of war he was sent to France as Adjutant to 41 Brigade RFA and took part in all the early actions of the war, such as the Retreat from Mons and the Battle of the Aisne. He was promoted to Major in October 1914. In the autumn he was wounded near Ypres and remained in hospital at Boulogne until December 1914, when he rejoined his battery at the front. In January 1915 he was ordered home to assist in instructing Kitchener’s New Army and in June sailed for Gallipoli. After two months service there he was again severely wounded in August 1915 and, having been hospitalised on Malta until the end of October, had to return to England. He was awarded the D.S.O. and mentioned in Despatches.

On recovery he acted as gunnery officer at Exeter and in June 1916 was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and the command of an artillery brigade in France where he served continuously until October 1917. He was again invalided home that month to undergo an operation, from which he never fully recovered, and died on 4th February 1918 aged 36 at his sister’s house at Ramsdale, in Nottinghamshire. His funeral was held at St Andrew’s Church, Nottingham and he lies in grave D.6451 of the Select Site, Nottingham Church Cemetery. He is commemorated on the Kegworth War Memorial.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Thornton
  • Forenames or initials: Godfrey St Leger
  • House: A
  • Years in School: 1894-1899
  • Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
  • Regiment: Royal Field Artillery
  • Date of Birth: 21st March 1881
  • Date of Death: 4th February 1918
  • How Died: Of illness after being wounded
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer A3
  • Decoration: DSO
  • Burial Site: NOTTINGHAM CHURCH CEMETERY: Grave D.6451