Arthur Thurston (1895‒1917), Sapper (217779) in the 98th Light Railway Train Crew Company, Corps of Royal Engineers, was drowned in Egypt on 31 December 1917 as a result of the ship on which he was travelling hitting a mine left by a German submarine. His death is recorded in the Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery, in Egypt and the Cambridge Guildhall War Memorial, as well as on this family grave.
Arthur was born in 1895 in Cambridge. He was the eldest of seven children born to Frederick Thurston and Minnie Thurston (née Harding). Before the war he worked as an apprentice pastry cook. He enlisted at Cambridge as Sapper (217779) in the 98th Light Railway Train Crew Company, Corps of Royal Engineers. On 30 December the Aragon, a ship transporting soldiers to the port at Alexandria in Egypt was torpedoed two miles from her destination. A destroyer going to her aid was also torpedoed. The following day on New Year’s Eve the troopship Osmanieh transporting troops ‒ including Arthur Thurston ‒ and medical staff was also approaching Alexandria. A German submarine, UC-34 (Horst Obermüller) had left a mine at the entrance to the harbour. The Osmanieh hit the mine and sank. There were 199 casualties including Arthur. At the time of his death Arthur was engaged to be married.
Lat Lon : 52.202323 0.13827716 – click here for location
Parish : Holy Sepulchre
The War Graves Photographic Project
Census returns for England: 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911
England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837–1915
England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index, 1837–1915
England & Wales, FreeBMD Death Index, 1837–1915
England & Wales, Death Index, 1916–2007
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858–1966
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914–1919
UK, Commonwealth War Graves, 1914–1921
Web: International, Find a Grave Index
The Times, 31 January 1918
Cambridge Independent Press, Friday, 27 December 1918
Cambridge Independent Press, Friday, 3 January 1919
Communications from June Jessop, Arthur Thurston’s niece
This grave was located and recorded by the Sixth-formers of the Parkside Federation, Cambridge on 14 November 2012.
By Emma Easterbrook, Mary Naylor and Ian Bent