No. 19231, ‘A’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 20)
No known grave
Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B)
Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Roll of Honour 1914 – 1919 for
Cloughey Presbyterian Church
James Thompson was born on 1 December 1895 in Kirkistown and he was a son of William and Margaret Thompson (nee Adair) who were married on 12 August 1886 in Glastry Presbyterian Church. William Thompson, a widower from Kirkistown, was a son of William Thompson, a farmer. Margaret Adair from Portavogie was a daughter of William Adair, a fisherman.
The Thompson family lived in the townland of Kirkistown.
William Thompson worked as a fisherman and farm labourer and he and Margaret had at least seven children including:
Mary Isabella (Bella, 22 September 1887 in Kirkistown)
William (10 February 1889 in Kirkistown)
Anna Eliza (3 March 1891 in Kirkistown)
Margaret Jane Kerr (3 January 1893 in Kirkistown)
James (1 December 1895 in Kirkistown)
Robert John (22 November 1900 in Kirkistown)
The children were baptised in Cloughey Presbyterian Church.
Prior to the outbreak of the Great War James Thompson worked as an agricultural labourer on the farm of Hugh Bailie at Kirkistown. He enlisted in Ballywalter, served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division and was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
Initially Rifleman James Thompson (No. 19231) was reported as missing in action and then in April 1917 it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed to have been killed in action.
A family member wrote and published a poem in his memory:
A loved one has been called away,
He’s in our midst no more;
In a land afar his body lies
Far from his native shore.
He bade us all a last farewell,
A happy, brave ‘Good-bye’;
And with the gallant few went forth
To suffer and to die.
Upon the first day of July,
Amidst the shot and shell,
’Twas in the battle of the Somme,
He in the conflict fell.
What anguish fills each fainting heart,
And many cheeks grow pale,
And in that sorrow-stricken home
How many mourn and wail.
None in that home shall e’er forget,
The one so bright and fair,
Who young in years was called away,
Now sits a vacant chair.
No one was near when in that hour
He breathed his latest breath;
But Jesus led him gently on
Thro’ the dark vale of death.
He answered not the roll call here
But in that world so fair,
When Jesus calls the roll above
He’ll not be missing there.
We know ’twas in that solemn hour
His spirit took its flight,
To dwell with God above the skies
In realms of love and light.
Oh, sorrow not, but cast your care
On Christ, the Unfailing One,
Who ever doeth all things well,
And say ‘Thy will be done’.
Let this a warning be to all
To cease their sinful strife,
Thy soul may be required of thee,
Escape thou for thy Life.
Oh, be prepared to meet thy God,
This warning he doeth give,
Consider now your latter end,
Believe and thou shall live.
And then, where parting is unknown,
All sorrow shall be o’er,
For strife and conflict never come
On yonder happy shore.
Rifleman James Thompson (No. 19231) was 20 when he died and he has no known grave.
Rifleman James Thompson is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France and in the PCI Roll of Honour for Cloughey Presbyterian Church.