Leonard Thomas Thornback

Leonard Thomas Thornback ©

Leonard Thomas Thornback ©

Date of birth: 5th January 1895
Place of birth: Southampton
Service No.: Not known
Rank: Temporary Lieutenant
Regiment: Machine Gun Corps
Battalion: 29th
Died: 2nd May 1918 aged 23 years
Death location: France





This photograph is © Richard Taunton Sixth Form College. Southampton Cenotaph Families and Friends Group have received permission to reproduce this photograph and extracts from the narrative on the Old Tauntonians’ online War Memorial:http://www.ota-southampton.org.uk/memorial/index.html

Please do not reproduce the photograph or any wording from this page.  If you want permission to use this photograph or narrative please contact the College on email@richardtaunton.ac.uk.


Life before the War
Leonard, also known as Leo, was the son of Charles Benjamin Joshua and Beatrice Annie, nee Smith.

Charles was born in 1864 Southampton and died in 1948 leaving a Probate:

 “Thornback Charles Benjamin Joshua of Bridge House 138 Monmouth Road Dorsetshire died 24 June 1948 at Dorsetshire County Hospital Dorsetshire. Probate London 13 October 1948 to William Rackstraw Thornback tile manufacturers’ manager Thomas James Emmings incorporates accountant and Albert Joseph Gillam solicitors managing clerk. Effects £52455 11s 10d”

Beatrice was born in Southampton 1869 and died on 15th September 1899 at just 29 years of age. She and Charles married in 1892 and they had four children, Leonard being their second son and child.  His siblings were:

Charles Rodney b. 19th June 1893, Southampton.  He married twice.  Charles passed away on 9th February 1987 in British Columbia, Canada.

Doris Rose b.1897.  Married Charles R Dewhirst in 1921.

Ellen Florence Wilhelmina b.1899 and d.1899

Charles Benjamin remarried in 1900 to Mary Ann, nee Rackstraw, who was born in 1873, Sheffield, Yorkshire.  Charles had a further two children with Mary:

Molly b.1904

William Rackstraw b.25th October 1906 and d. 1999

Upon Mary’s death, just 3 months before her husband, her probate read:

“Thornback Mary Ann of Bridge House 138 Monmouth Road Dorchester Dorset widow died 7 March 1949. Administration London 13 February 1952 to Palma Eileen Emmings (wife of Thomas James Emmings). Effects £93 5s 4d”

In the 1901 census Leonard and his brother Charles were living in the household of sisters Mary and Kate Withers at 10, Spring Road, Portswood, where they were boarding scholars.  By 1911 Leonard was a boarder at Cranleigh School, Surrey.

Charles Benjamin with his second wife was living at 15 East Park Terrace in 1901 where he had a Butcher’s business.  Daughter Doris was living with them.  Charles engaged two servants – a Housemaid and a Cook.  They were at the same address in 1911 by which time son Charles worked with his father in the Butchers Shop whilst Doris, Molly and William were at school.  Mary Ann’s sister was living and working for the family as a Butcher’s Book Keeper.  Two Domestic Servants also lived and worked in the household.


War Service

Cinque-Rues-CemeteryCinque-Rues-Cemetery-2Leonard is remembered with Honour at the Cinq Rues British Cemetery, Hazebrouck, France.  Two views of the Cemetery are pictured.

The Memorial Register reads:
“Thornback, Lt. Leonard Thomas. 29th Bn. Machine Gun Corps. 2nd May, 1918. Son of Mr. C. B. J. and Mrs. M. A. Thornback, of 25, East Park Terrace, Southampton. Grave/Plot Reference A. 23”

This cemetery was used chiefly by the field ambulances and fighting units of the 29th Division from April to August 1918 for the burial of the Commonwealth casualties sustained during the German offensive.

King Edward’s School
Leonard is remembered at the King Edward’s School, Southampton, where he was a pupil there from January 1908 – July 1909.


Old Tauntonians’ Memorial Roll

Time at Taunton’s School: 1903 – 1907

Education and Employment: Leonard was born on 5th January 1895 in Southampton. After leaving Taunton’s, he was a pupil boarding at Cranleigh School in Surrey.

Life during the war: Leonard’s family lived on East Park Terrace and his father worked as a Master Butcher. Leonard served as a Lieutenant with the 29th Battalion of the Machine Gun Corps. He was killed in action in France and is buried in Cinq Rues British Cemetery, Hazebrouck.

Leonard died on 2nd May 1918 aged 23 years.

Leonard left a Probate naming his father:

“Thornback Leonard Thomas of 25 East Park Terrace Southampton temporary lieutenant 29th Machine Gun Corps died 2 May 1918 in France. Administration Winchester 8 November 1918 to Charles Benjamin Joshua Thornback meat trader. Effects £137 19s 2d”


Researcher: Becky Lonergan
Published: 27th August 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

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