Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

John Thornton

John Thornton :

John Thornton : Khedive's Star

Khedive's Star

We don't know anything about John's family or early life.

Although we don't know when, John joined the Army. He enlisted in the 16th Brigade and was given the service number 835. This was made up of two Regiments of Foot; the 63rd and the 96th. We don't know anything about his career until 1880, when he was serving with the 63rd Regiment in India.

The 63rd Regiment played a small part in the Second Afghan War of 1878-80. John was with them in August 1880 when they marched from Sibi in modern Pakistan to try to relieve British forces under siege in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Another force marching south from Kabul got there first so John will have seen very little fighting. After the end of the war the 63rd Regiment stayed in Kandahar until the British withdrew in April 1881.

On the 1st July the 63rd Regiment became the 1st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. They were stationed at Quetta, in modern Pakistan, at the time.

The Anglo-Egyptian War broke out in June 1882 after the pro-British Khedive was deposed. Britain wanted to protect its commercial investments in Egypt, as well as the Suez Canal, which gave access to India. The 1st Battalion was sent to Egypt on the 6th September to join a larger force that had already landed. For this reason they did not see very much fighting. The war ended later that month with the British restoring the Khedive to power, but having much more control over the country.

John's time overseas ended on the 3rd November 1882. He returned to the UK and was stationed at Warley in Essex, and then at the Tower of London for a time. He was with the battalion in Warley when lists of soldiers eligible for medals for the Egyptian campaign were drawn up. He was listed on the Egypt Medal roll on the 25th November 1882 and the Khedive's Star roll on the 20th March 1883.

The rest of John's life remains a mystery. As well as his Khedive's Star, he was also eligible to receive the Afghanistan Medal and the Egypt Medal for his Army service.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
c/o Portland Basin Museum
Portland Place
Heritage Wharf
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL7 0QA

Telephone: 0161 343 2878
Email: Portland.Basin@tameside.gov.uk
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Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council