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help with a Naval War Grave

This war grave is in need of some care and I would like to organise a wreath laying ceremony.

Can anyone help me find info on the RNVR Officer mentioned below, the churchyard is a couple of miles from my house and I want to look at laying a wreath and tidying up the grave. Cant find any info on this Officer but he does have the DSC so that might help.

Initials: M V
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Lieut-Commander
Regiment/Service: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
Unit Text: H.M.S. Bulldog.
Age: 37
Date of Death: 03/04/1946
Awards: D S C, V D
Additional information: Son of Adam Brown Thorburn and Dorothy Mary Beatrice Thorburn, of Higham; husband of Marguerite Helen Thorburn, of Edinburgh.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: West of church.


War Hero
Having just consulted the BMD Index for 1946, I can tell you that he passed away in the Chatham area. I don't think he was actively serving on HMS Bulldog at the time, though, as she was sold in January 1946.
Thanks Soleil

I thought it as strange that he had an offical CWG stone but the date of his death was post war and HMS Bulldog had alreday been scrapped.

I am still keen to know what his DSC was for?

Wasn't HMS BULLDOG famous for capturing ENIGMA

I still hope to take a uniform contingent to his grave site


War Hero
Would suggest that he was wounded in action during the war and died of his wounds not long after its end. One of my relatives is listed on the CWGC database - he died of his wounds in 1919 - and has a military headstone - I think that the CWGC includes those who have died after the wars from their injuries, as is the case here.

Have you considered requesting a copy of Lieutenant-Commander Thorburn's death certificate?


War Hero
You can do an FOI access on him by contacting the FOI cell at:
Naval Service FOI Co-ordination Cell (NSFOICC)
Mail Point 1-4, Leach Building, Whale Island, Portsmouth, PO2 8BY
Tel: 02392 625081 Fax: 02392 625279

[email protected])

They will send you his records,including the reason for the issue of any decorations.


War Hero


The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the R.N.V.R. Officer's decoration to
Lieutenant-Commander Michael Vitale Thorbum, D.S.C., R.N.V.R.



The Distinguished Service Cross.

Lieutenant-Commander Michael Vitale Thorburn, R.N.V.R.



For seamanship, resource and devotion to duty in rescuing survivors from a Merchantman which was being attacked by Enemy aircraft:

Mention in Despatches.

Lieutenant Michael Vitale Thorburn, R.N.V.R.,
H.M.S. Blankney
Are you still interested in Michael Thorburn ? I assume he was buried here because his mother lived in Higham, at Turks Hill, until her death in death in 1957. His sister, Beatrice, lived there until at least 1984.
In her childhood, until she married, Michael's mother lived in Higham Hall.
It is odd, though, that Michael is buried here as he presumably had a family home (he was married as you know) somewhere else. He is not on the roll of honour for Higham either.
Thank you for your response. I am still interested in any information I can get. I would like to see what we can do about getting him added to the memorial.
Interestingly, his death is recorded as 1946, the year after the war ended ? although he still has a proper CWGC tombstome.
Can you email me at [email protected] so we can liaise.
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