From the Thorley Archives
Thorley's Memorial to World War II


By strange coincidence the two servicemen commemorated on the Second World War memorial in our church of St James the Great, Thorley, were neighbours in Thorley Street. Arthur (known as George) Reedman and Percy South both lived at Hawthorne Rise, or Block 3, Thorley Street Estate, as it was known at the time. They also both served in the Suffolk Regiment. Sergeant George Reedman was a regular soldier who, when his term of service ended in 1938, found employment with the G.P.O. (Post Office) at the Bishop's Stortford sorting office. He and Stella were married the year before at Upton in Huntington. He was mobilised on 2nd September 1939 and on 1st October posted to France. A war documentary film showed that he was one of the last to be rescued from the Dunkirk beaches in 1940. He then spent time with the Royal Armoured Corps rising to the rank of sergeant before being sent to Tunisia in January 1943. George lost his life in the final advance to trap the retreating Axis forces at Tunis on 23rd April 1943. His final resting place is in the Massicault War Cemetery only 15 miles south of Tunis. His sons, Ian, Trevor and grandson Glyn have researched a comprehensive history of George's army service.

George, Stella & Ian Reedman

Thorley's Second World War Memorial

Private Percy South lived at Number 1, Block 3, Thorley Street Estate and his nephew Bryan remembers well his uncle coming home on leave in 1940 complete with full combat kit.

Before the war Percy worked at the maltings at Sawbridgeworth and when he left for call-up he was given an excellent character reference as a hard worker. Whilst on service in India he played football for his regimental team winning several medals. From India he went with the 18th Division on the ill fated assignment to guard Singapore. It was whilst a prisoner in Changi Jail that by chance he met up with Frank Monk (Rectory Close) and other prisoners from Bishop's Stortford. As a POW, Percy South was transferred, together with other Commonwealth, Dutch and American prisoners, to build the notorious Burma - Siam railway at Myanmar. The 280+ mile railway was completed in December 1943 but Percy died in November 1st 1943. He is buried in the Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery.

The Suffolk Regiment


Bill Hardy
November 2002

From the Archives