'A Foreign Field' by Ben Macintyre (2001)

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daggers
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'A Foreign Field' by Ben Macintyre (2001)

Post by daggers »

I have had this book for several years but until going through the shelves for a good read, while libraries are closed, I found I had never read it.
It is a true story of a handful of British soldiers, separated from their units in the German advances of 1914, who link up and are hidden by French villagers. The author clearly spent much time with the descendants and survivors of the villagers and was allowed access to local archives, but he does not allow his research to interrupt his narrative.
One of the soldiers is named as William Thorpe, from Liverpool, who had joined the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment in 1910 as a regular soldier and was 36 years of age. He had a wife and three young children back in Liverpool, but no other details appear in the book about where he lived or his former occupation.
After many months in hiding the four main characters of the book are revealed to the occupying Germans, and after brief 'trial' were executed by firing squad in May 1916. Their graves lie in the village churchyard at Le Catelet, just north of St Quentin in Picardy.

I have not been able to trace William Thorpe's army records, as so many were lost in a WW2 bombing, but found that he was entitled to the 1914 Star, Victory and British War Medals, which were probably sent to his widow. 'Soldiers Died in the Great War', a publication listing most casualties, has 'KIA', Killed in action, against his name. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Debt of Honour Register entry includes no family information.

I would be very interested to know if more is known or can be found about this man.
Daggers
M. no. 31

Bertieone
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Re: 'A Foreign Field' by Ben Macintyre (2001)

Post by Bertieone »

Daggers,

Needle in a haystack springs to mind, however, Soldiers effects, 20- 9- 1919, monies authorised to brother, Alfred J.

Why not wife or ex wife I wonder?
Bert

daggers
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Re: 'A Foreign Field' by Ben Macintyre (2001)

Post by daggers »

Thanks! With time available, haystacks can be torn apart!
According to one site, Wm Thorpe may be on the memorial at St John’s, Knotty Ash in Doddyland. I have sent a query to the vicar but may have to wait a while. Meanwhile, back to the hay.
D
M. no. 31

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MaryA
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Re: 'A Foreign Field' by Ben Macintyre (2001)

Post by MaryA »

The vicar there is a good guy, he helped me a lot once upon a time. Hope he checks his emails soon.
MaryA
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Names - Lunt, Hall, Kent, Ayre, Forshaw, Parle, Lawrenson, Longford, Ennis, Bayley, Russell, Longworth, Baile
Any census info in this post is Crown Copyright, from National Archives

daggers
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Re: 'A Foreign Field' by Ben Macintyre (2001)

Post by daggers »

Must have changed, as I had a very quick reply from the lady vicar. The church is locked like so many of us, but her reply was friendly, so patience needed.
D
M. no. 31

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MaryA
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Re: 'A Foreign Field' by Ben Macintyre (2001)

Post by MaryA »

It is a couple of years since I made contact, glad she's as nice as the other one.
MaryA
Our Facebook Page
Names - Lunt, Hall, Kent, Ayre, Forshaw, Parle, Lawrenson, Longford, Ennis, Bayley, Russell, Longworth, Baile
Any census info in this post is Crown Copyright, from National Archives

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