It is a sad task, week by week, to record the deaths in action of brave young local heroes at the Front; but an added degree of sadness seems present when promising young lives, ready and even eager to be given in the service of the country, are prematurely cut off in the hey-day of youth ere entering upon the more ardent phase of service on the battle-field itself.
On Friday the sad news reached Dunstable that the only son of Mr. L. C. R. Thring, headmaster of Dunstable Grammar School, and Mrs. Thring, Sec. Lieut. Ashton Edvard Thring, of the North Midland R.F.A., had unhappily succumbed to the severe attack of influenza and pneumonia from which we had been Suffering. This unwelcome intelligence created feelings of gloom and deep regret and sympathy in the ancient borough for the stricken parents.
As had been mentioned in our last issue, Mr. and Mrs. Thring; on being apprised of the serious condition of their son, who was in hospital at Ripon, Journeyed to the Yorkshire city, and remained there to the end. For them it is a heavy blow, but if heartfelt and sincere sympathy can in any degree assuage its bitterness, then indeed they have it from all around in the town and district.
Lieut. Thring was about 20 years of age, and was a former brilliant , Grammar School boy. He received his earlier education at the school, and subsequently went to Hayward’s Heath, and then to Marlborough, He afterwards returned to Dunstable to finish his education. He was Successful in all departments, and a much beloved chum of all the boys, being a
Keen sportsman and athlete. His last year at the school was distinguished by the award of the Hankey Gold Medal, which is given each year to the lad who has made the best use of his opportunities, and whose influence has been best used. He was admired by his school mates, and the news of his death came as a great blow to all.
Lieut. Thring about a year ago joined the Officers’ Training Corps at Berkhamstead, and soon after received his commission in the North Midland R.F.A. It is a sad fact that almost on the eve of taking his place in the ranks of our battle-field heroes, he should have been cut off in so unexpected a manner. At any rate he did his best for King and country, and his name on the roll of honour will for long be revered.
HIS UNIT’S LAST HONOURS.
The following is an extract from a letter received by Mr. and Mrs. L. C. R. Thring from Col. Russell, the officer commanding their son’s unit of the R.F.A.
“ We have just returned from paying our last tributes of respect to ‘your deceased son. The gun-carriage bearing the coffin was driven by three officers, and over one hundred of his brother officers followed in the procession from the Camp to the railway station. The General sent his A.D.C. to represent him. When the coffin had been laid in the railway van three of our trumpeters sounded the ‘Last Post.’ I thought you might like to hear these few details, and I should add that beforo removing the coffin from the hospital mortuary the Chaplain conducted a brief service, consisting of a Psalm and some prayers.’'
IMPRESSIVE FUNERAL SCENES.
The funeral at Dunstable on Tuesday was accompanied with full military honours. The coffin arrived from Ripon at the L.N.W.R. station on Tuesday morning and was conveyed on a gun carriage to the residence of the parents under the supervision of S.S.M. Catlin, R.E.
At 2.30 p.m. the R.E. band, trumpeters, a firing party, and gun carriage team, with six fine horses, lined up outside the Grammar School, and behind these contingents were officers and men of the R.E. and R.F.A., the Dunstable Company of the V.T.C.. and 66 cadets from the Grammar School. The coffin was borne to the gun carriage by men of the Royal Engineers, with other soldiers standing at the salute.
The coffin, which was covered with the Union Jack, bore upon it the deceased officer’s sword, hat and belt, a wreath from his grandmother, another from Mr C. H. M. Thring, and a little wreath of violets, bearing the following verses, from Lieut. Duncan McPherson:—
“ Lie still, and be For ever more a child;
Whom life has not defiled I render thee.
Thy scanty years Were mine a little while;
Life had no fears To trouble thy brief smile,
With toil or tears.
Sleep on, dear man,
The last sleep and the best.
And on thy brow.
And on thy quiet breast Violets I throw.”
The procession to the Parish Church was marked by the strains of Chopin's Funeral March. The parents and relatives walked behind the gun carriage.
The clergy and choir awaited the arrival of the cortege at the church door, and a most impressive service was conducted by the Rector (Rev. Canon W. W. C. Baker), assisted by the Rev. H. S. Glover, a great number being present. The 39th Psalm was sung, and the hymns were “ Jesu, Lover of my soul,” and “ The Radiant Morn hath, passed away.” Chopin’s Funeral March was admirably rendered by the organist, Mr. Deacon. Afterwards the bell was tolled.
On the way to the cemetery the band played the Dead March in “Saul,” and at the graveside, after the body was committed to the grave, the “ Last Post ” was sounded, and three volleys fired over the grave. The service at the graveside was conducted by Canon Baker, in the presence of a large concourse.
Inspector Purser and Sergt. Tingey were in charge of the police who were in the procession, and who performed useful duties. the band and trumpeters were led by Bandmaster Graham, the firing party being under Lieut. Freer and Sergt. Green. the warrant officers and N.C.O.’s from the R.E. Depot were in charge of R.S.M. Powell. Capt. Saville had charge of the general arrangements, and Lieut Bowen rode the leading horse of the gun team, which consisted of three sergeants mounted as drivers. ’The pall bearers were six officers., of the R.F.A., now in training at the R.E. Depot. The private Funeral Arrangements were carried out under the personal supervision of the Mayor (Coun. Franklin).
The chief mourners were
- Mr. and Mrs. L. C. R. Thring (parents)
- Miss Margaret and Miss Mollie Thring (sisters)
- Mr. C. H. M. Thring.
- Mr. L. C. W. Thring. Fleet Paymaster E. Thring, R.N. (uncles);
- Mrs. Crosbie (aunt)
- Mr. and Mrs. J. Healing (uncle and aunt)
- Miss Healing (cousin.)
- Mr. Phillipson (Headmaster Christ College, Finchley).
Others present at the obsequies were
- Mr. F. W. Brown (Dunstable School)
- Mr. W. D. Coales (Dunstable School)
- Mr F. Fritschi (Dunstable School)
- Mr. T. E. Green (Dunstable School)
- Mr. W. Booth (Dunstable School)
- Mrs. Allingham (Dunstable School)
- Col. Leaf, R.E. (commanding R.E. Depot)
- Col. Dortor
- Mr. C. C. S. Benning
- Coun. C. Boskoit
- Mr. and Mrs. J. Warren
- Sergt. Scott (Boy Scouts)
- Messrs. Ballance, Mapley, Tompkins, W. Todd, J. Vernon, and Thompson
- Col. Fenwick
- Dr. and Mrs. Little
- Mrs. Weston Webb
- Rev. C. A. Brooke.
In addition to the floral tributes from relatives and individual friends were those from the following:
- Officers D. Battery R.F.A., Comrades of his Officers’ Course
- Staff of Dunstable School
- Brother Officers (D. McPherson. .T. Marshall. Hamilton Graham. H. M. Booth, J. B. Robinson, H. F. Vaughan, Hugh Wool house, and S. C. Hawdou).
- Capt. Harold F. Wade (commanding D. Battery, R.F.A.).
- Friends in D. Battery, R.F.A.
- Boys of Dunstable Grammar School.