Andrew Thorne

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Sir Andrew Thorne
Born(1885-09-20)20 September 1885
Dornhurst, Sevenoaks, Kent, England
Died25 September 1970(1970-09-25) (aged 85)
Spynie Hospital, Elgin, Moray, Scotland
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1904–1946
Service number13980
UnitGrenadier Guards
Commands heldScottish Command
XII Corps
48th (South Midland) Infantry Division
Brigade of Guards
1st Infantry Brigade (Guards)
184th Infantry Brigade
3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards
Battles/warsFirst World War
Arab revolt in Palestine
Second World War
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order & Two Bars
Mentioned in Despatches
Commander's Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta (Poland)
Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States)
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav (Norway)

General Sir (Augustus Francis) Andrew Nicol Thorne, KCB, CMG, DSO & Two Bars, DL (20 September 1885 – 25 September 1970) was a senior British Army officer who served in the First and Second World Wars, where he commanded the 48th (South Midland) Infantry Division.

Military career[edit]

Educated at Eton and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Thorne was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Grenadier Guards in 1904. He served in the First World War, becoming a staff captain, then deputy assistant adjutant and quartermaster general and then deputy assistant quartermaster general in France. He became Commanding Officer (CO) of the 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards in 1916,[1] and saw action in the First Battle of Ypres in 1914[2] and Battle of the Somme in 1916, earning the Distinguished Service Order and two Bars.[3] In 1918 he became commander of the 184th Brigade.[1]

After the war he became assistant military attaché at Washington, D.C. and then, in 1922, a General Staff Officer (GSO) at London District. He was appointed military assistant to the Chief of the Imperial General Staff at the War Office in 1925 CO of the 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards again in 1927. In 1932, he was made military attaché in Berlin and commander of the 1st Guards Brigade at Aldershot Command in 1935. He was a temporary brigade commander in Palestine and Transjordan in 1936. In 1938 he became Major General commanding the Brigade of Guards and General Officer Commanding (GOC) London District.[1]

In 1939, at the start of the Second World War, Thorne became GOC 48th (South Midland) Infantry Division, which played an important role in the defence of the Dunkirk perimeter in 1940.[3] He then became GOC XII Corps before being appointed GOC Scottish Command and Governor of Edinburgh Castle from 1941 to 1945. As GOC XII Corps, he founded the innovative XII Corps Observation Unit as a prototype of the Auxiliary Units guerrilla organisation.[4] Whilst in Scotland, he was involved in the creation of War Office Selection Boards and responsible for the Fortitude North deception plan, as well as preparation for the liberation of Norway.[1]

Germany officially surrendered in Norway on 8 May 1945, and Thorne arrived in Norway on 13 May together with Crown Prince Olav. He brought with him a small military force—one tenth the size of the German military presence—and so had to rely on cooperation with paramilitary forces from the Norwegian resistance movement. He cooperated closely with Jens Chr. Hauge. He formally held the sovereignty of Norway until 7 June, when Haakon VII of Norway returned from his exile. Thorne remained in charge of dismantling the German presence in Norway until he left the country on 31 October 1945.[5]

He retired in 1946.[1] He was chairman of the Anglo-Norse Society for some time.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  2. ^ Scots at War Archived September 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ a b First World War
  4. ^ Atkin, Malcolm (2015). Fighting Nazi Occupation: British Resistance 1939 – 1945. Barnsley: Pen and Sword. pp. Chapter 5. ISBN 978-1-47383-377-7.
  5. ^ a b Ringdal, Nils Johan (1995). "Thorne, Sir Andrew". In Dahl, Hans Fredrik. Norsk krigsleksikon 1940-45. Oslo: Cappelen. Archived from the original on 29 May 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2010.


External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Bertram Sergison-Brooke
GOC London District
Succeeded by
Sir Bertram Sergison-Brooke
Preceded by
Frank Roberts
GOC 48th (South Midland) Infantry Division
Succeeded by
Roderic Petre
Preceded by
New post
Succeeded by
Bernard Montgomery
Preceded by
Sir Harold Carrington
GOC-in-C Scottish Command
Succeeded by
Sir Neil Ritchie