Harry Thorn (aka Johnson/Johnstone) was born in Fawley, Hythe, Hampshire, reportedly on 15 December 1886. His exact parentage remains uncertain, but he was apparently the son of George Thorn, a plumber.
When Harry first appears on the 1891 census he was described as the grandson of Mrs Elizabeth Thorn and being described as her adopted "boy" by the time of the 1901 census.
Mrs Elizabeth Thorn was born in Fawley, Hampshire, England around 1834. The identity of her husband is unknown but he is known to have been a mariner and with him had at least four children: Emma (b. 1865), Louisa (b. 1868), Henry (b. 1870) and Henry James (b. 1875). By the time of the 1901 and 1911 censuses she was going by the name of Elizabeth Williams and claimed to be a widow.
The 1891 census shows Harry and his grandmother living at Jones Lane in Fawley, she being described as a laundress. His grandmother was possibly widowed within the next few years and remarried as she is listed as Mrs Elizabeth Williams, a widowed charwoman. Harry, by now described as her "adopted boy," was described as a butcher's boy. Mrs Williams was still living at the time of the 1911 census, still at Jones Lane, and she was described as a domestic.
Harry was married in Southampton’s St Mary’s Parish Church on 18 February 1908 to Elizabeth Eliza House (b. 8 December 1886 in Southampton). Harry was described as a ship’s cook and gave his father’s name as George Thorn, a deceased plumber. Elizabeth was the daughter of coal porter William Walter House (then deceased) and the former Mary Elizabeth Kimber.
Harry and Elizabeth would have no children and only Elizabeth is recorded on the 1911 census, then living at 103 Albert Road, Chapel, Southampton whilst Harry was absent, presumably at sea.
When he signed-on to the Titanic in Southampton on 9 April 1912, Thorn gave his name as "H. Johnston" and his address as 103 Albert Road, Southampton. He had transferred from the Minneapolis and as an assistant ship's cook he received monthly wages of £4.
Harry Thorn died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
THORN (JOHNSTONE) – April 15th, 1912, on the s.s. Titanic, Harry, the beloved husband of Elisabeth Eliza Thorn, 103 Albert-road, Southampton, aged 25. - Hampshire Independent, 11 May 1912
His widow Elizabeth was assisted by the Titanic Relief Fund. Towards the close of 1913 she was remarried to Dorset-native Reginald Edwin Marlow (b. 1891) and the two ran a pub together.
Widowed again in June 1930, Elizabeth was remarried to Harry Chick (b. 1871), a London-born licensed victualler. Widowed for a third time in 1942, Elizabeth spent her final days living in Swindon, Wiltshire where she died on 23 November 1959 aged 72.
She had no children from any of her three marriages.