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Name: THORNYCROFT, Edward Gerald Mytton (Capt.)

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Nee: son of Rev. John Mytton Thornycroft

Birth Date: 7.7.1886 Harrogate

Death Date: 12.9.1914 in action at Kisii

First Date: 1909

Last Date: 1914

Profession: Commanding a company of the 4th KAR who marched to Kisii to engage the German force in Sept. 1914. Major Thornicroft was killed during the days engagement. War grave at Kisii Sports Club (photo)

Area: Kisii

Book Reference: Permanent Way, Gethin, Lloyd-Jones, Joelson, Moyse, CWGC, Nicholls, Web

War Service: R. Lancs. R., KAR

General Information:

Gethin - Buried near the Tennis Court.
Lloyd-Jones - 1914 - Sept 12th about two companies of the 4th KAR attacked a strong German detachment, accompanied by numerous Europeans, which had occupied the post of Kisii. After a brisk fight, during which Capt. Thorneycroft, one native officer and six askaris were killed, and 3 British officers and 12 askaris were wounded, the KAR drew off for the night, but returned and occupied the post early next day. The enemy had also retired during the night, leaving several of their wounded behind. Their casualties were 11 Europeans and 30 askaris killed and many wounded, including 5 Europeans and 16 askaris taken prisoner. The Brigadier in his report especially mentioned the coolness and gallantry of Captain Thorneycroft, the skill with which Captain Lilly had collected and withdrawn the scattered troops at nightfall, and the courageous and steady behaviour of the African ranks under well-directed fire at close range.                                      
Moyse - 1910 - Operations in Turkana
CWGC has Edward Gerald Mytton Thornycroft, Captain, King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regt.) attd. KAR who died on Saturday, 12th September 1914. Age 28. Son of Frances A.H. Morris (formerly Thornycroft) of New Place, Tiverton, Devon, and the late Rev. J. Mytton Thornycroft.
Web - King's Own Royal Regt. - Thornycroft was commissioned into the King's Own on 16 Aug 1905, and promoted Lieutenant in 1907. In December 1909 he was employed with the 4th (Uganda) Battalion of the KAR. He was typical of many officers who were seconded from the British army for service in Africa with Imperial Forces. A contemporary letter to Colonel T O Fitzgerald in Nairobi, Kenya, tells the story:- October 1914 Dear Fitzgerald, In the absence of Mr Spencer KDG Kisii, I am writing you a few lines about Rekisii fight in which poor old Thorny was killed. I was present at the engagement. Thornycroft was in command of the column consisting of about 280 4/KAR (3 Corps) and 40 GA Police, which came over from Uganda on the 11th September. We were en route for Nairobi, but on arrival at Kisinar, were switched off to Kisii to meet a German invading force which consisted of about 350-400 asharis, 40-50 Europeans, 3 Maxims and 1 Field Gun. We arrived at the hills surrounding Kisii station at about 10 am 12th September and took up position on them prior to attacking. Re Gs were having a parade and had taken no precautions in the way of outposts and scouts, otherwise we should never have searched the hills without opposition.
Thorny took down the attack on our right personally, together with Grey (attached to KAR and wounded) and Mr Spencer, while a separate attack was made on the left under me. Thorny got quite close to the station before being fired on, having advanced down the hill along the road which was rather hidden. He then turned into the bush, which was very thick indeed. (It was necessary to stand up to fire). They then found a European section of about 35 whiles opposed to them at about 30 range (Thorny's section was only about 20 strong). Thorny charged and drove them back, and then took up their old position (German). The Germans retreated about 50. He was standing up to Look when he was shot through the heart, death was instantaneous I believe. His section eventually retired slowly, owing to shortage of ammunition, and the fact that they were enfiladed as well. Eventually we all retired after dark owing to shortage of ammunition. The Germans retreated in a route in twos and threes that night, leaving all their kit, ammunition, wounded etc behind.
When our troops went in next day, Thornycrofts body was found and we give him a military funeral at Kisii. Thornycroft was a most popular officer amongst us in KAR and his loss is deeply deplored. Also an excellent soldier. Before the fight he was especially cool and collected and formed his plans well. During the fight, I hear he showed much gallantry, and was quite fearless. He is a great loss to us. The German casualties I estimate at about 90 or 100 killed and wounded. Our casualties were 8 killed and 15 wounded. I trust this will give you some idea of the part Thornycroft took in the fight. M A Lilley, Captain 4/KAR Edward Thornycroft  is buried in Kisii Boma Military Cemetery, Kenya.
Du Ruvigny Roll of Honour

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