Pte 15/891 West Yorkshire Regiment, Prince of Wales Own. 15th Battalion, Leeds Pals
Sapper 358281 Royal Engineers

Herbert was born in 1887, possibly as the son of William Thornes and Frances Pollard. There is an 1881 census that shows a William Thornes, born in Leeds in 1848 and working as a civil engineer in Mirfield with a wife, Frances born in 1853 with two children, Ernest and Ruby. Whether this is the same family cannot be ascertained as there is also another marriage listed in June of 1877 in Bradford for a William Thornes and Frances Pollard. (Source: Census data)

In 1901, Herbert is listed as a Post Office boy and his mother as a widow, taking in boarders at their home, 15 Ebberston Terrace in Headingley. In 1911 however, he appears as a sorting clerk and telegraphist at 4 Broomfield Terrace, Headingley. This appears to have been the family home, yet Frances was at 121 Victoria Road, Headingley. In this instance, she had first filled the form in for Victoria Road with the Broomfield Terrace address and at no. 121 she is listed as ‘mother-in-law living with son.’ However, the only other occupants given are two children with the surname Bouskill and a servant. It is possible that there had been a family falling out, that Frances was simply visiting, or she had gone to look after the two children. (Source: Census data)

Herbert enlisted on 6th September 1914, where he stated that his address was 21 Ashville Grove, Headingley. He was a signaller, attached to HQ on account of his Post Office training. He travelled to Egypt with the regiment. (Army Form Z. 11)

At some point after this, possibly around January 1918, he was transferred to the Royal Engineers and given a new number of 358281. Later that month he was graded Pioneer, and on 18th September remustered as a Sapper with the 42nd Signal Company where he was as a telegraph operator.

On 24th March 1919, he was awarded a disability pension and his address was given as 19 Springfield Mount, Woodside Hospital, Leeds. It is likely from the description of the nature of his disabilities that had he been gassed. (Source: First Award – Soldier)

On 20th April 1919 Herbert was finally demobbed and gave his address as 19 Wyther Park Place.

He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.
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