Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Mark L. Thornewill, January 23, 2018

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


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00:00:00 - His family acquiring their wealth

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Partial Transcript: So, so, we thought, uh, that it would be wonderful to take this opportunity to record some of these stories that you have.

Segment Synopsis: Thornewill discusses the kinds of servants that he grew up with and his family's background in the cotton industry. He also talks about his grandfather's brother becoming bankrupt after receiving a substantial inheritance from his great grandfather and how his grandfather helped his brother to save the family name.

Keywords: Alfred Owen Lyon; Cooks; Cotton; Family; Fathers; Great grandfathers; Honorary Kentucky Colonel; Inheritance; Lancaster Cotton Mills; Maids; Mothers; Nannies; Nanny's maid; Queen Elizabeth II; Servants; Stories; Wealthy

Subjects: Bankruptcy.; Bombay (India); Kentucky; South Kensington, London (England); Wealth.; World War, 1939-1945

00:04:51 - From Atheism to priesthood

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Partial Transcript: Um, in World War I, my mother's brother, her only brother, was killed in the navy--(coughs)--uh, in 1915.

Segment Synopsis: Thornewill discusses growing up in a nonreligious household and his mother's brother tragically dying in World War I. He also tells the story of the end of his naval career and how it led to him becoming a Christian and joining the priesthood.

Keywords: Aircraft carriers; Alexander Pope; British Royal Navy; Chapels; Choir boys; Collisions; Dartmouth College; Fathers; H.M.S. Grenville; London College of Divinity; Oxford University; Poets; Twyford Boarding School; Vocations; Wykehamist; de Havilland Comet

Subjects: Atheism.; Boarding schools; Christianity; Conversion; Court marshals; God; Jesus Christ; Korea; Religion; Winchester (England); World War, 1914-1918

00:12:42 - His family life

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Partial Transcript: Dr. Coggan, from being principal of the London College of Divinity became the Bishop of Bradford, then the Archbishop of York, then the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Segment Synopsis: Thornewill discusses marrying his wife and moving to the United States of America with three young children. He also talks about adopting a son through the Virginia Children's Home Society at the lowest financial place they had ever been in, as well as his employment at the Norton Memorial Infirmary that saved his family from having to return to England.

Keywords: Adventurous; Archbishop of Canterbury; Archbishops; Bishops; Careers; Children; Daniel Coggan; Dennis Gibbs; Employment; Finances; Heroes; Kentuckians; Margaret Hilaria Thornewill; Norton Memorial Infirmary; Priests; Virginia Children's Home Society; Weddings; Women

Subjects: Adoption; American; Bradford (England); Canterbury (England); England; Family; Kentucky; Louisville (Ky.); Marriage; Richmond (Va.); Washington (D.C.); World War, 1939-1945; York (England)

00:17:15 - Early memories of growing up in South Kensington, London

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Partial Transcript: So, so, we covered from Thurloe Square all the way to Korea and, uh--in our conversation and, uh, prior to this an-- break, all the way up to your wedding day.

Segment Synopsis: Thornewill talks about what it was like growing up in the four story house his parents owned in South Kensington, London. He comments on his relationships with his sister, his nanny, as well as his nanny's maid. He also talks about the meals he was served as a young boy and the activities around Thurloe Square.

Keywords: Children; Comfortable; Elegant; Familial relationships; Fathers; Friendly; Gardens; Houses; Jane Thornewill; Meals; Mothers; Nannies; Nanny's maid; Neighborhoods; Nursery; Parents; Phases; Shopping; Sisters; Thurloe Square

Subjects: Families.; London (England); Memories; South Kensington, London (England)

00:23:49 - Memories of his parents

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Partial Transcript: Talk to me about, uh, what you remember about your mother.

Segment Synopsis: Thornewill talks about his memories of his mother and his father as well as how they met and the events leading to their marriage. He also talks about his father's childhood and his later career with the D'oyly Carte Opera. He also comments on the lack of musical ability in his family as well as his wife's, but the extraordinary musical ability of his daughter, Joanna Thornewill.

Keywords: Bill Lyon; Bloodlines; Chichester; D'oyly Carte Opera; Famous; Fathers; Grandmothers; Joanna Thornewill; Judah Thornewill; Lawyers; Luke Thornewill; Mothers; Music; Myles Thornewill; Orphans; Oxford University; Physicians; Pianos; Royal Horse Artillery; Savoy Hotel; Savoy Theater; Wykehamist

Subjects: Death; London (England); Marriage; World War, 1914-1918; education

00:34:16 - His military education

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Partial Transcript: Okay, so, so, we've talked about the, the parents and a little bit of growing up, uh, in Thurloe Square, but you then, uh--were you always in the city?

Segment Synopsis: Thornewill talks about his education at Twyford Boarding School and Dartmouth College and how they prepared him and his classmates to go to war. He also discusses the different sports they played.

Keywords: Attention; City; Classes; Cricket; Cultural norms; Dartmouth College; Dormitories; Exams; Games; Hockey; Male; Mothers; Nurses; River Dart; Soccer; Squash; Teachers; Tennis; Twyford Boarding School; Uniforms

Subjects: Basic training (Military education); Boarding schools; Education; London (England); Military education.; Sports.; Universities and colleges.; Winchester (England); Yorkshire (England)

00:39:55 - From Dartmouth College to World War II

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Partial Transcript: Now, what, what year did you go to Dartmouth?

Segment Synopsis: Thornewill talks about going to war in the middle of his military education at Dartmouth College and the different places he went with the British Royal Navy in the position of midshipman, which resembles the duties of an apprentice. He also talks about the leisure activities that his fellow seamen and himself participated in when they were not at sea. He comments on meeting Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth prior to their marriage and reign over England.

Keywords: Admiral Sir Frederick Dalrymple Hamilton; Air raids; Atlantic Ocean; Battle of Dunkirk; Battle of El Alamein; British Army; British Isles; British Royal Navy; Captains; Coffee; Colony class cruisers; Confidence; Curriculum; Dartmouth College; Defense; Destroyer; Father-in-law; Fear; Germans; H.M.S. Mauritius; H.M.S. Resolution; Indian Ocean; Naval officers; Navigation; Nightclubs; North Africa Campaign; Oceans; Officers; Pentagon; Prince Philip; Princess Elizabeth; Reality; Sailors; Speed; Strength; Students; Submarines; Tensions; Torpedoes; Troop ships; Troops; Uniforms; Women

Subjects: Basic training (Military education); Bombay (India); Cape of Good Hope (South Africa); Capetown (South Africa); Colombo (Sri Lanka); Combat.; Liverpool (England); London (England); Midshipmen.; Military life.; Naval discipline.; Scotland; Sri Lanka; Travel.; Universities and colleges.; Warships.; Washington (D.C.); World War, 1939-1945

01:01:28 - Dancing with princesses

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Partial Transcript: Okay, so I'm going to break with sequence a little bit.

Segment Synopsis: Thornewill tells the story of how he met and danced with the princesses of the royal family, including Princess Elizabeth who would soon become Queen Elizabeth II. He also talks about his knowledge of Prince Philip, the soon-to-be husband of Princess Elizabeth and King of England.

Keywords: Adventures; Ballrooms; British Royal Navy; British naval officers; British royal family; Buckingham Palace; Dances; Dartmouth College; Executive officers; Janet D'Oyly Hughes; Orchestras; Philip Mountbatten; Prince Philip; Princess Elizabeth; Princess Margaret; Queen Elizabeth II; Reputations; Spouses; Trains

Subjects: England; Greece; London (England); Marriage; Naval discipline.; Universities and colleges.; World War, 1939-1945

01:15:52 - His military medals

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Partial Transcript: Well, let's go back to the war because I do want to talk about some of the other moments and, and one story that, that I want to talk about was, uh, the other night at the party in Frankfort, uh, that we had, you wore your medals.

Segment Synopsis: Thornewill discusses the medals that he received for this time in the British Royal Navy, specifically the one that he received from Russia in the past couple of years for helping the Red Army by participating in the convoys to bring them supplies in the midst of the warfare with the Germans.

Keywords: Arctic Star; Battleships; Campaign medals; Casualties; Convoys; H.M.S. Royal Sovereign; Medal of Valor; Medals; Ponies; Red Army; Riding britches; Russians; South Atlantic Medal; Supplies

Subjects: America; Norway; Russia; Veterans.; War stories.; Washington (D.C.); World War, 1939-1945

01:24:35 - His World War II souvenir

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Partial Transcript: Now, I know you've shown me, uh, binoculars before that you got during the war and--no, no, no, you don't have to show me now, um, but, uh, but my question is this came from--th, th, that set of binoculars came from a German--

Segment Synopsis: Thornewill discusses how he attained his World War II souvenir from a German officer during a skirmish to take over a Greek supply ship that the Germans stole. He also talks about how he had to prove himself with his underlings because of the dangerous conditions of the situation.

Keywords: Athletes; Binoculars; Boarding party; Bravery; Dangerous; Death charges; Garrison; Greek supply ship; Islands; Landing part; Mediterranean; Ports; Surrender; Torpedoes

Subjects: Aircraft carriers.; Cooperation.; Germans; Leadership; Naval discipline.; Warships.; World War, 1939-1945