b. 05/03/1887 Shadwell, London. d. 30/12/1917 near Ypres, Belgium.
DATE OF AM ACTION: 30/12/1917 near Ypres, Belgium.
Harry was born in Shadwell, one of ten children of William and Marion Thorner (nee Land) in March 1887. Following a basic education, he became a clerk. He enlisted at the outbreak of World War I in the Royal Garrison Artillery. On 1st December 1916, he transferred to the Machine Gun Corps as Temporary 2nd Lieutenant. Harry was unmarried at the time of his death, and the medal was presented to his younger brother Thomas by King George V on 1st June 1918.
On the 30th December, 1917, Lieutenant Thorner was examining some Mills Hand grenades in a small concrete dugout in France prior to taking them up to his machine gun position during an expected enemy raid. One of the grenades began to fizz when taken out of the box. There were twelve men in the dugout at the moment, and there was no possible means of disposing of the bomb. Realising what had happened Lieutenant Thorner shouted to his men to clear out whilst he himself held the bomb in his hand close to his body until it exploded and killed him. By this magnificent act of courage Lieutenant Thorner deliberately sacrificed his own life for others. Of the twelve men who were in the dugout all but two escaped without injury—they were slightly wounded.
BURIAL LOCATION: THE HUTS MILITARY CEMETERY, DICKEBOSCH, BELGIUM.
PLOT XV, ROW A, GRAVE 12.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.