Service Number 43848
Regiment Leicestershire Regiment
|32nd, 13th, 20th, 18th and 14th Northumberland Fusiliers
James Maurice Thirlwall was born in Kirk Deighton on the 19th December 1895, the son of James and Eleanor May Thirlwall. The family, including James Maurice was living in Kirk Deighton in 1901, having previously lived in Bilton. By 1911, the family had moved to Collingham, although James Maurice was not present on census night and we have not traced his whereabouts on that night.
James Maurice Thirlwall's service record has not survived but from his medal roll we know he served in the Northumberland Fusiliers with a service number 32/306. He also served in the 32nd, 13th, 20th, 18th and 14th Battalions of that regiment. Around May 1917 he was injured; the Wetherby News reporting:
This report would correspond well with an entry for No. 18 General Hospital at Camiers, France for M.Thirlwell, aged 21, with a service number of 32/306 who was transferred from sick convoy No. 24 Ambulance Train with ulceration of an old wound on his right leg. The record suggests that Private Thirlwell was originally treated at No. 43 Casualty Clearing Station at Arras on the 30th April 1917, was admitted for treatment on the 20th May and on the 10th June 1917 was passed to No. 6 Convalescent Depot. He had been serving with B company of 13th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers.
From the list of service in James' medal roll, we can guess at some of his movements. His initial service number, 32/306, suggests an early enlistment in the 32nd Battalion. This battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers was formed in Ripon in July 1915. James next transferred to the 13th Battalion. This battalion first went to France in September 1915 as part of 62nd Brigade in 21st Division. It appears that in April 1917, at the time of his injury, James was still with 13th Battalion.
After his wounding James returned to service. Again his medal roll tells us his next destination was 20th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, part of 102 Brigade in 34th Division. Next he was posted (date unknown) to 18th Battalion. 18th Battalion was a Pioneer Battalion in 34th Division, so perhaps this battalion change marked a change in roll for James from pure infantryman to pioneer, but within the same Division. Next he went to 14th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers - this battalion was a Pioneer battalion in 21st Division. Finally, at some stage in the war, James was transferred to the Leicestershire Regiment with a service number 43848. Unfortunately we do not know which battalion he served with, or why he might have been transferred.
After the war, James Maurice Thirlwall returned to Yorkshire and worked as a Railway Guard/Porter. He lived variously at Ripon and from 1926 until 1951 he appears on the electoral rolls at 18 Avenue Terrace, Starbeck, Harrogate. He appears on the 1939 register at the same address as a Railway Porter/Guard. In 1952 his name is on the electoral roll at Knaresborough Hospital on Stockwell Road, Knaresborough and he died there (11 Stockwell Road, Knaresborough) on the 19th November 1952.
Biography last updated 28 July 2020 15:35:32.
The Wetherby News 18/5/1917
First World War Medal Index Cards. The National Archives (WO372).
First World War Medal Index Rolls. The National Archives (WO329).
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