No. 14097, Private, Harold Newman THURLBOURN
Aged 23

99th Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)
formerly 18752 Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Sunday 18th February, 1917

Born in Fordham in Q2-1893, [Newmarket 3b:547] the son of Lemuel and Mary Elizabeth THURLBOURN (née PETTIT). His parents were at Market Street, Fordham for the 1891 census.

1901 census...At Station Road, Fordham were Harold [8] with his father Lemuel [38] a railway platelayer born Oakington, and his mother Mary Elizabeth [32] born Fordham, and his sisters Edith Elizabeth [10], Rosa May [5] and Ethel Beatrice [4 months]. All the children were born in Fordham.

1911 census...The same family group were now at "The Gatehouse", Exning. It is recorded that 2 other children had been born but since died.

"Soldiers Died" has him enlisting in Wisbech. Being in the Machine Gun Corps and also having no known grave, without his service records there is no way of telling more accurately where he died. 20 of his unit died that day, 8 are buried at Regina Trench Cemetery, just off the road between Courcelette and Grandcourt
The Battle of the Somme officially ended in November 1916, the Germans spent the winter building their "Siegfried Line" and two days after Harold's death they withdrew to this new fortified line

Harold's entry in"Our Exning Heroes" reads as follows:

Thurlbourn,H.N.    Machine Gun Corps
Harold Newman Thurlbourn joined up in March, 1915, and enlisted in the 7th Suffolks. He afterwards entered the Machine Gun Corps and received his training at Grantham, where he was very successful in passing his examinations, being one of the three successful ones out of the twelve who tried. He became an artificer, and was made a Corporal. He was in the July push on the Somme in 1916, and was also in Hill 60. He was killed instantaneously on the Somme in February, 1917, after having been in action for several weeks.
Before joining the Army he was on the railway, and had become a signalman. At one time he was at Snailwell Junction, and afterwards went to Wisbech, from where he enlisted. Mr. Whitaker, his old master, writes of him in a testimonial, " I have a high opinion of his character. As a scholar he was punctual, willing, intelligent and truthful, also hard working. I am sure he will give satisfaction to his employers."

No Known Grave
Harold is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial Ref: pier and face 5C and 12C

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details