Capt. F H Thornton


From B&C Review  April 1964

Reading Capt. Thornton’s obituary it is clear that there is some confusion over his age at the time of his death.

If he joined Clan Line in 1906 as a fourth officer then he must have been at least 20 at that time. I assume this is the error and that he actually joined in 1926.

Wartime Service Record sourced from


18 Feb 1932   S.Lt.

18 Feb 1934   Lt.

18 Feb 1942   Lt.Cdr.

30 Jun 1949   Cdr.


1 Jan 1944   DSC

Mar 1944   RD

14 Nov 1944   OBE

Warship Commands listed for Frederick Harold Thornton, RNR

           Ship                                   Rank             Type                     From                  To

HMS Cape Warwick (FY 167)    Lt.       ASW Trawler        16 Oct 1939     22 Feb 1940

HMS Lord Lloyd (FY 157)           Lt.       ASW Trawler        17 Apr 1940        late 1940

HMS Pimpernel (K 71)               Lt.          Corvette               5 Dec 1940       early 1943

HMS Sennen (Y 21)               Lt.Cdr.          Sloop                12 Feb 1943     8 May 1945

Corvette HMS Pimpernel (K 71)

26 Feb 1941

HMS Pimpernel (Lt. F.H. Thornton, RNR) picks up 7 survivors of the Norwegian merchant Benjamin Franklin that was torpedoed and sunk on 19 February 1941 south of Iceland in position 58°50'N, 16°30'W by German U-boat U-103.

HMS Pimpernel also picks up 32 survivors from the Norwegian merchant Borgland that was torpedoed and sunk that day, east of Ireland in position 55°45'N, 14°29'W, by German U-boat U-47.

26 Feb 1941

Pimpernel rescued 28 men from the sinking Swedish ship Rydboholm, that had been torpedoed by U-47 in the morning. (1)

13 Mar 1941

HMS Pimpernel (Lt. F.H. Thornton, RNR) picks up the sole survivor of the Norwegian merchant Augvald that was torpedoed and sunk on 2 March 1941 north-west of the Hebrides in position 59°30'N, 07°30'W by German U-boat U-147.

12 Jun 1941

The British merchant Chinese Prince is torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-552 south of Rockall in position 56°12'N, 14°18'W. 18 survivors are later picked up by the British corvettes HMS Arbutus (Lt. A.L.W. Warren, RNR) and HMS Pimpernel (Lt. F.H. Thornton, RNR).

17 Aug 1942

HMS Pimpernel (Lt.Cdr. F.H. Thornton, RNR) picks up 29 survivors from the British merchant Fort la Reine that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-658 in the Windward Passage west of Haiti in position 18°30'N, 75°20'W.

18 Aug 1942

HMS Pimpernel (Lt.Cdr. F.H. Thornton, RNR) picks up 43 survivors from the British merchant Empire Bede that was torpedoed and damaged by German U-boat U-553 north of Jamaica in position 19°35'N, 76°25'W. The wreck of the Empire Bede is finally sunk by gunfire from the corvette in position 19?41'N, 76?50'W.

Sloop HMS Sennen (Y 21)

19 May 1943

German U-boat U-954 was sunk in the North Atlantic south-east of Cape Farewell, Greenland in position 54°54'N, 34°19'W, by depth charges from the British frigate HMS Jed (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Freaker, DSO, RNR) and the British sloop HMS Sennen (Lt.Cdr. F.H. Thornton, DSC, RNR).

From HMS Conway Website


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