71138 Pte Enoch Thorley of the Chatsworth Rifles

Victory Medal
Burslem Town Hall

Enoch was born in The Town of Burslem in the County of Staffordshire in 1885 and was a collier by trade.

Attestation into the Militia

In June 1902 Enoch enlisted into the 3/North Stafford Regiment of Militia aged 17. His attestation form describes him as 5 ft 2 inches with brown hair and grey eyes.

Statement of Service

After serving for 4 years in the Militia he joined the Regular Army.

Enumeration Book for 1911 Census

It is not known how long Enoch stayed in the Army, but certainly by 1911 he is reordered as serving in Peshawar with 2nd Battalion the North Staffordshire Regiment.

Medal Index Card

Enoch attested into the North Staffs Regiment in December 1915 as part of the ‘Derby Scheme’. He was mobilised in June 1916 and following training proceeded to Base Depot in France.

War Diary – Chatsworth Rifles – November 1916
Service Record of 71108 Pte Arthur Chell

Enoch was part of a ‘Draft’ of 50 North Staffordshire men that were posted to the Chatsworth Rifles on the 11th November 1916 and given service numbers 71097 to 71146. The Service record of 71108 Pte Arthur Chell suggests that these men had initially been posted to the 3/8th Battalion North Staffs for training.

Trench Map of St Pierre Divion from WO95/2584/3
War Diary entry for the attack on St Pierre Vivion WO95/2587/2

Almost immediately Enoch Thorley and the other men from the North Staffordshire Regiment were involved in the attack to capture St Pierre Divion. The Battalion successfully captured the German positions and in total captured 13 Officers and 720 Other Ranks. Casualties for the Chatsworth Rifles amounted to Lieut SG Burch and 4 Other Ranks killed; 67 Other Ranks wounded.

War Diary for 21st-25th December 1916 from WO95/2587/2

The Chatsworth Rifles were transferred to the Ypres Sector in November 1916 with the rest of the 39th Division. They relieved the 17th Battalion the King’s Royal Rifle Corps in the right sub-sector. These trenches were located on the Yser Canal just in front of Boesinghe.

Front line trenches

On the 23rd and 24th of December the Germans bombarded the front line trenches with Minenwerfer and shrapnel causing casualties. In total 5 men were killed and 20 wounded; amongst them was Enoch Thorley.

Enoch suffered a gunshot wound to the face, which was described as slight in the Admissions Book of the No 18 General Service Hospital based at Camiers. He had arrived by 18 Ambulance Train on the 26th December. This record also confirms that Enoch had only been in France for 2 months prior to his wounding. He was transferred to the 6 Canadian Hospital on the 10th January 1917.

Enoch was discharged in February 1918 and received a pension. The Pension record describes his wound as GSW (gun shot wound) to the thighs; it is therefore possible that Enoch returned to the Chatsworth Rifles and was wounded a second time.

Enoch was awarded The Victory Medal, British War Medal and a Silver War Badge.

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