Born: 31st July 1881, St. Luke’s, London.

Baptised: 3rd September 1882, at St. Clement Church, City Road, Islington. Parents: Mary Ann & Edwin William Thornhill, a Carman, of Radcliffe Gardens, London. Edwin’s brother, Richard William Thornhill, born 16th August 1882, was baptised during the same ceremony.

Died: 22nd May 1901; age 19; died of Enteric Fever, at Middelburg, Mpumalanga, South Africa.

ENTERIC FEVER   Enteric Fever (eneterica serotype bacteria) was a rampant bacterial infection during the South Africa Boer War – 1899 – 1902.

This systemic disease, now known as Typhoid Fever, from the bacterium Salmonella typhi, is characterised by fever and abdominal pain. The disease is spread via the lymphatic system and can affect other parts of the body, or even the whole body. The symptoms usually develop a week or two after a person has become infected bringing on a high temperature, headaches, coughs, lethargy, aches and pains, loss of appetite, sickness and diarrhoea. After 2 – 3 weeks intestinal bleeding.

Enteric Fever was originally thought to be spread via dust storms and flies.

Human carriers with acute illness can contaminate the surrounding water supply through their faeces, which contain a high concentration of the bacteria. The polluted water supply can, in turn, taint the food supply. Enteric (Typhoid) Fever is then contracted by drinking or eating contaminated food or water. This bacteria can survive for weeks in water or dried sewage.

In 1897, an effective vaccine was developed by Almroth Wright and William Leisman, at the Army Medical School, Netley. At the time of the Boer War, the new inoculation had many side effects, and soldiers refused voluntary immunisation. The inoculation was still voluntary in August 1914, when Great Britain entered the First World War. 

Residence: 63, Britannia Road, Shoreditch, London.

Occupation: an Artificial Flower Maker.


Desertion Date: 13th February 1899, at Dover, Edwin was reported to be 19 years old, when in fact he was 17, service number 4996, Suffolk Regiment, 1st Battalion.


Rank: Private; Service Number: 4996.

Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 1st Battalion.


Clasps Awarded: Cape Colony, Orange Free State & Transvaal.




1891   20, Turner’s Place, Shoreditch, London.


Edwin was 9 years old and living with his parents & brothers.

Edwin William Thornhill, 30, a Carrier Carman, born St. Luke’s, London.

Mary Ann Thornhill (nee Miller), 28, born Clerkenwell, London.

Richard William Thornhill, 8, born St. Luke’s.

Robert John Thornhill, 6, born St. Luke’s.

Philip Thomas Thornhill, 2, born St. Luke’s.

William Thornhill, 6 months, born Shoreditch.


Edwin’s father, Edwin William Thronhill died 1894, Shoreditch, London.


Soldiers’ Effects to Mary Ann Thornhill – mother, Richard Thornhill & Robert Thornhill – brothers.


One of the notable Battles with a large loss of Suffolk life was the “Battle of Suffolk Hill” at Colesberg, Northern Cape 5th- 6th January 1900. The hill was originally called Red or Grassy Hill. The Suffolk Regiment was ordered to make a night attack on a Boer position on the heights, four companies, 354 of all ranks, set out at midnight under the command of Col. Watson. The Suffolks were met by a storm of bullets. The Colonel was amongst the first to fall, and the party later retired with 11 officers and 150+ men killed, wounded or captured.


The Boer War.

Suffolk Regiment 

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