Photographs courtesy of Glenda Thornton


Born: 12th October 1886, Marylebone, London.

Baptised: 19th October 1886, St. Mark’s, St. John’s Wood, Westminster. Address: 8, Swinbrook Road. Parents: Elizabeth & William Thornton – Labourer.

Died: 22nd August 1916; age 29; Killed in loss of vessel in the North Sea. Body not recovered for burial.


Rank: Leading Seaman; Service Number: 228151

Regiment: Royal Navy – H.M.S. E16.ALFRED THORNTON 4


Medals Awarded: Messina Medal.


Memorial Reference;

Panel 15.

Chatham Naval Memorial,



Relatives Notified & Address: Son of the late William & Elizabeth Thornton of Notting Hill, London; Husband of Violet E. Thornton, of 4, Nacton Crescent, Nacton Road, Ipswich.




1891   51, Rackham Street, Kensington, Middlesex.


Alfred was 4 years old and living with his parents & siblings.

William Thornton, 42, a Labourer, born Paddington, Middlesex.

Elizabeth Thornton, 41, born Marylebone, Middlesex.

Sarah Thornton, 13, born Paddington, Middlesex.

Charles Thornton, 11, born Marylebone.

Louisa Thornton, 9, born Kensington.

Georgina Thornton, 7, born Kensington.

Amy Thornton, 2, born Kensington.


1901   37, Southam Street, Kensington, Middlesex.


Alfred was 14 years old, an Errand Boy. He was living with his parents & siblings.

William, 52, a Painter’s Labourer.

Elizabeth, 51.

Amy, 12.

Henry Thornton, 9, born Kensington.


1911   Fountain Lake, Portsmouth, Hampshire.


Alfred was 24 years old, an Able Seaman in the Royal Navy. He was on board ‘Vernon’, Torpedo School Ship.


In 1914, Sunderland, Durham, Alfred married Violet Emma Spalding, born 1888, Pulham St. Mary, Norfolk. They had 1 son:

Alfred Thomas Thornton, born 1916, Ipswich.



H.M.S. E16. Submarine sailed from Harwich on 18th August 1916. Her sister submarine E38 sighted E16. 35 miles east of Great Yarmouth. E38 on the 22nd August sighted a group of enemy warships. Splashes were seen on the surface and reports from German craft that they had engaged a submarine, after seeing a periscope. The wreck of E.16 was found in 2001 by a German diver Rolf Schuett at Heligoland Bight near Terschelling Island Holland, where a large hole was found, indicating a mine or torpedo strike. The Submarine had a crew of 31, all perished.



H.M.S. E16.

H.M.S. E16.


Posted in First World War

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