A G Thurlow

A G Thurlow

Arthur Thurlow (1892-1915)

My name is Arthur Geoffrey Thurlow and I was born in 1892 in High Wycombe. My father, also called Arthur, who was a corn merchant, died in 1904 when I was 12. I lived with my mother, Florence, in Castle Street near All Saints Church in High Wycombe.

I first went to Norfolk House School in Beaconsfield before I won a scholarship to Felsted School in Essex, where I was a boarder. I loved school and did well both academically and at sports. I was a prefect, captained the school’s football and cricket teams and represented the school at hockey, fives and athletics. I then won both leaving and open scholarships at Gonville and Caius College. At Cambridge I won my blue representing the university at hockey and I graduated in June 1914 with classical honours.

The world then changed and war broke out. I volunteered almost immediately and was awarded a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding regiment on 8th September 1914. We completed our battle training in Witley, Surrey. In July 1915 we set off from Liverpool, bound for Gallipoli. By this time I had been made the Battalion Adjutant, which meant I directly helped the colonel in charge of the battalion.

On 6th August, we embarked at Mudros at 4.30 in the morning. Many of us were unwell; suffering from dysentery and other stomach issues. The following day we were involved in the landing at Sulva Bay. We landed behind Lala Baba Hill under heavy fire at 12.30pm. The subsequent attacks to gain land were chaotic and led to the deaths of many soldiers. We were fighting for over 36 hours and didn’t make much progress.

On 21st August at 3pm we were still in the beach area and we planned to assault the Turkish trench positions. Our scouts had predicted that the Turkish artillery would be dazzled by the low sun. This proved to be significantly wrong and as we ran up a hill, which we called Chocolate Hill, there was a hail of shrapnel and gun fire. By 4pm we had been called back and the attack had failed. I was running up a field towards the Turks when I was hit in the leg and arm. I couldn’t move and was bleeding badly. Unfortunately I could not be rescued until it was dark.

I was then evacuated to the military hospital in Ras-el-tin in Alexandria in Egypt. I arrived at the hospital on August 27th and the medical teams spent a lot of time trying to save my leg, which was badly hurt. On August 29th 1915, at 11.30am, my femoral artery starting haemorrhaging and so they quickly amputated my leg. It wasn’t enough and I died at 4.15pm that day, aged 23. I was buried the next day at Chatby Military Cemetery in Alexandria. I am also remembered on my family’s plot here in High Wycombe Cemetery.

Researched and performed by Niall McCarthy

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