Photograph of John by kind permission of ashtonpals.webs.com
(L to R) 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
John was born on the 2nd February 1896 in West Gorton, Manchester. His father was called Theodore and his mother was Emily. He had a younger brother called Frederick Thorley, whose medals are also in the Museum of the Manchester Regiment collection. John was called Jack by his friends.
Theodore lived at Bardsley Lodge in Bardsley, Ashton-under-Lyne in 1901, and worked as a goods receiver. Before this he had followed 'every male member of the Finucane family' since the 1850s by serving in either the Army or the Navy. We don't know which regiment Theodore served with.
John's grandfather (we don't know his name) had served in the Army, enlisting in around 1850, '15 months before Lord Roberts' as he proudly put it. Frederick Roberts (The Earl Roberts) was an extremely famous Victorian soldier, who had won the Victoria Cross in 1858 and reached the rank of Field Marshal by 1904. The two had met in India in 1851 and John's grandfather was very proud of a signed letter from the Field Marshal thanking him for sending 80th birthday congratulations in 1912.
John was working as an apprentice at Lupton Brothers, in Ashton when the First World War broke out in August 1914. He followed in his family's footsteps by enlisting in the 9th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment, based in Ashton, during September. He was given the service number 2282.
The battalion sailed to Egypt before he was trained, so he stayed in the UK until they called for reinforcements. The 9th Battalion took part in fierce fighting from the moment they arrived in Gallipoli during May and soon needed reinforcements such as John. He joined them on the 22nd August.
The poor sanitation and confined conditions in Gallipoli meant the risk of disease was just as great as being wounded in action. John had been struck down with dysentery by September. A letter from a friend, who had worked with him before the war, was published in the Ashton Reporter newspaper on the 2nd October reporting this fact.
John's condition worsened, and he also developed enteric fever. He was evacuated back to the UK and admitted to Netley Hospital near Southampton. His family stayed at his bedside for several weeks. It was hoped John would begin to recover, but after an operation he died peacefully on the 27th November 1915. He was 19 years old.
Frederick also served in the 9th Battalion. He enlisted in around March 1914 and sailed to Egypt with them that September. Exactly one year before John died Frederick had also fallen victim to dysentery. He died in Cairo aged just 15 and is buried there. Theodore's brother Arthur had also enlisted in August 1914. He had previously served for 21 years and won the Distinguished Conduct Medal, but at 41 was no longer fit enough, so he was discharged that November. He died on the 9th May 1915.
John is buried in Gorton Cemetery, Manchester. His grave reference is P.200.