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George Oliver Thorogood

Rank: Private

Lifetime: ?1887-1917

Reference: G30964

Private George Oliver Thorogood of the 12th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment died from disease on 16 January 1917 in France and is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery. He was the son of Joseph and Caroline Mary Thorogood (nee Betambeau) of Munster Road, then within the postal district of Hampton Wick. He is not commemorated on the Hampton Wick War Memorial but is listed on the war memorial in St Mark’s, Church albeit with his name incorrectly entered as “Thoroughgood”.

He was baptised on 25 July 1888 at St Saviour’s Church, Ruskin Park, Lambeth together with his younger sister, Rose Jane. Interestingly, his surname caused confusion even at this stage, as his parents are given as Joseph and Caroline Mary “Thoroughgood” of 16 Hardess Street.

By 1891 the Thorogood family, comprising Joseph (31), a carman, Caroline (30) and their four children were living next door at 17 Hardess Street, Brixton. Their children were: Eliza C (7); Joseph E (6); George Oliver(5) and Rose Jane (2). All their children, other than the youngest daughter, had been born in the East End: Joseph in Mile End and George in Old Ford. Clearly the family had moved to Brixton before the birth of Rose, so by the early summer of 1888 at the latest.

The family had moved to 11 Hinton Road, Herne Hill by the time of the next Census in 1901. Joseph and Caroline now had 8 children living with them: Elizabeth (17) born in Aldgate; Joseph E (16) working as a telegraph messenger; George Oliver (13); Rose Jane (12); Abraham (7); William Alfred (10); Henry Frederick Charles (5) and Arthur John (3). All the younger children from Rose onwards had been born in Lambeth which suggests that the family had remained in the area since about 1888.

It is not possible to state with absolute certainty when Private George Oliver Thorogood was born although it seems likely to have been on 29 July 1887. The age given for him in the 1891 Census of 5 years suggests a birthdate of around 1886, whilst his age in the 1901 Census of 13 years, produces a birthdate of about 1888. There was a George Oliver Thorogood who was born between these dates, on 29 July 1887 at Bow. However, this date of birth conflicts with Private Thorogood’s entry in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (“CWGC”) register. His CWGC entry gives his age as 33 at his death in January 1917 which would mean he had been born around 1883/4. It seems most probable that it is the CGWC record which is incorrect as it seems highly unlikely his parents would have under recorded his age by four years thereby delaying his departure from school and entry onto the labour market.

The connection with the South Teddington area was established when his parents, Joseph and Caroline Mary Thorogood, moved to 111 Munster Road, Teddington in 1911. This remained their home right up until their respective deaths in June 1925 and 3 January 1940. Private Thorogood’s siblings, William Alfred, Henry Frederick Charles and Arthur John all also settled in the Teddington area. His youngest brother, Arthur, only died in Teddington in July 1950.

George Oliver Thorogood married Florence Kate White on 14 November 1914 in Kingston on Thames. Her parents, according to the record of her baptism at St Peter’s, West Molesey on 11 March 1888 were William and Esther White and her father is described as a labourer. George and Florence had a son, Frederick George Thorogood, in 1915.

Private Thorogood’s entry in Soldiers died in the Great War states that he was living in West Molesey when he enlisted in Kingston. Certainly his CWGC entry provides that his widow was living in West Molesey at the time he was buried. After his death, his wife remarried in about September 1919 to Frederick Barton.

According to the History of the 12th (Bermondsey) Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment in which he served, Private Thorogood’s death was due to nephritis a type of kidney disease. The Battalion History discussing conditions in “the hard winter of 1916 and 1917” states:

“Though casualties from shell and rifle fire had been very heavy in the St Eloi sector, much sickness was occasioned by the conditions, resulting in wastage of manpower. So far there had been three fatalities from sickness: Privates T Thorogood, G Thorogood and W Hoadley having succumbed to trench fever, nephritis and pneumonia respectively.”

Nothing further is known about his war service.

In addition to his commemoration on the war memorial in St Mark’s Church, Private Thorogood is also commemorated on the Men of Molesey War Memorial in East Molesey (WMR 23205). He also has an entry on the Online WW1 War Memorial for Teddington.

The first phase of this Project is to gather information about the men commemorated on the Hampton Wick War Memorial who fought in the Great War, also known as World War I, WWI or the First World War.

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