Thursfield, James Barry

Barry Thursfield was the second son of Rear-Admiral Henry George Thursfield, of Creake Abbey, Fakenham, Norfolk, and Celia Thursfield (daughter of Arthur Sneyd Taylor FRCS). He came to Bramston’s in Common Time 1939, from Seafield Park, Lee-on-Solent.   He reached Sixth Book 1, Science Division, in his last term: a good athlete, he was in Lord’s in 1942 and 1943, and in the Princes Pair which won the Public Schools Competition in 1943.

On leaving school he entered as a student at the Inner Temple, aiming at a career at the bar, and then took the RN Short Course in Law at Magdalen College, Oxford from October 1943 to March 1944. In March 1944 he joined HMS Ganges – a shore training establishment at Shotley in Suffolk – as a Ordinary Seaman, being commissioned as a Midshipman at the end of the year. He served on Channel patrol duties until 1945, aboard the destroyers HMS Tanatside  and HMS Versatile and in December 1945 was transferred to the Far East aboard HMS Loch Glendhu, a frigate which had been commissioned in October 1944 and then converted for service in the Pacific. Loch Glendhu sailed for the Far East in July 1945, and by August was in the Persian Gulf, where she engaged in escort duty for the damaged HMS Palomares.

Thursfield joined the vessel in December 1945. Following this, in January 1946, Loch Glendhu acted as guard ship at Morotai in the Moluccas. This was an unpopular duty. Morotai was home to thousands of Japanese prisoners of war, guarded by the Australian army. The navy’s duties consisted for the most part of ensuring that the American Liberty ships being used to repatriate the Japanese were not over-loaded.  However, procedures were often ignored and sometimes over four thousand Japanese were crammed onto one vessel. Apart from this, there was little to do: swimming and film screenings were about the sum of the garrison’s amenities. There were cricket matches against the garrison, tennis, and occasional bat-shooting, but little else.

Thursfield died on active service on April 23rd 1946, after a very brief illness, in the Naval Sick Quarters at Diyatalawa in Ceylon. He was twenty years old.   He is buried in grave 3.A.2 of Colombo (Liveramentu) Cemetery. He is commemorated on the North Creake War Memorial in St. Mary’s churchyard, North Creake, Norfolk.


War: World War 2

  • Surname: Thursfield
  • Forenames or initials: James Barry
  • House: H
  • Years in School: 1939-1943
  • Rank: Sub Lieutenant
  • Regiment: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
  • Date of Birth: 28th August 1925
  • Date of Death: 24th April 1946
  • How Died: Died on Active Service
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner C1
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: Colombo (Liveramentu) Cemetery: Grave 3.A.2