Rifleman John Reginald Thorn was born in Toronto in 1890, son of Major J. O. Thorn of the Queen’s Own Rifles, and was educated at the Technical High School on College Street.
On the evening of June 20, 1910, a military pageant was held at the Exhibition grandstand during which Reginald Thorn was to portray Joseph Sheppard sitting astride a horse, while another member of the regiment portrayed the fiery Scot William Lyon Mackenzie exhorting his companions to attack the city of Toronto as a prelude to the ill-fated Rebellion of 1837. At one point in the scene, as rebels were being routed by the loyalists, a volley of fire caused Thorn’s mount to rear up and fall backwards full length on the young soldier who was still astride his mount. Thorn was impaled by the pommel on the saddle.
The young man was removed to the hospital where his injuries were diagnosed as non-life-threatening. Later the next day, June 21, 1910, twenty-year-old John Reginald Thorn died of internal injuries and heart failure. The young soldier’s unexpected demise can be deduced from words he uttered as he was taken from the grandstand, words that have been immortalized on his memorial stone – “Tell Mother I’ll be all right in the morning.”
He is buried in Plot Y, Fancy, Lot 121, Mount Pleasant Cemetery.
Mount Pleasant Cemetery: An Illustrated Guide
Second Edition Revised and Expanded