THORBY, Ernest Robert [M.M.]

No.15755, Private, Ernest Robert THORBY, M.M.
Aged 21

2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday, 21st September 1918

Ernest Robert Thorby was born on 2nd February 1898 in Soham,(Newmarket Q1-1898 3B:535), baptised on 13th March 1898 in Soham, son of Robert and Elizabeth Ann THORBY (née IRONS).

1901 census...Aged 3, he was at Barway Fen, Soham with his father Robert THORBY [27] horsekeeper born Soham; his mother Elizabeth Ann [23] born Burwell and brother George William [6 months] born Soham.

1911 census...Aged 13,he was still in Barway with his parents, brother George and new siblings, brothers Percy [7] and William [5] and sister Annie [3], all born in Barway. His sisters Annie Maud [1907] and Elsie Louisa [1916-1993] were born in Stuntney.

CWGC have his parents at Soham Road, Stuntney, but no record has yet been found to link them with Swaffham Prior, but at least "Soldiers Died" has Ernest resident in Upware.

He enlisted in Newmarket. "Soldiers Died" has him resident in Upware
On 21st September 1918 the battalion were in the line at RONSSOY.
Between 18th & 30th September 1918, the 2nd Battalion was engaged in a 12 day battle around Ronssoy Wood, between Peronne and Cambrai, losing 350 men as they fought alongside the Americans for the first time. On the 21st they assaulted a defensive line east of Ronssoy village, 33 died of which 15 have no known grave.
Although it is not known where or when they won their medals, they were a well decorated bunch of men, one Military Cross, one Distinguished Conduct Medal and seven with the Military Medal.

photo: Rodney Gibson

Ernest Thorby is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial, panel 4-5

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