Thompson, William James
No. 14737, 9th Battalion, Princess Victoria’s (Royal Irish Fusiliers)
Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 18)
No known grave
Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 15 A)
Bessbrook War Memorial
Bessbrook Parish Church of Ireland Church (Christ Church)
In the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Debt of Honour website, it is recorded that William J. Thompson (No. 14737) was a son of Samuel Thompson of Bessbrook, Co Armagh and the husband of Ellen Thompson of 35 West Street, Newtownards, Co Down.
After he died, it was reported in the Press that Mrs Samuel Thompson, Derramore, Bessbrook, ‘who so recently lost her second husband through death, has received official notification that her eldest son Pte. Wm. James Thompson Royal Irish Fusiliers (Armagh Volunteers) is missing since 1 July 1916. Prior to his enlistment he was an apprentice wood-turner in the Bessbrook Spinning Company’s works and was a young man with many good qualities’.
William James Thompson was born on 13 January 1898 in Derrymore, Bessbrook and he was a son of Samuel and Mary Thompson (nee Connor) who were married on 31 March 1893 in Mullaghglass Church of Ireland Church. Samuel Thompson, a bachelor from Bessbrook, was a flax dresser and he was a son of William Thompson, a labourer. Mary Connor, a spinster from Bessbrook, was a daughter of Thomas Connor, a weaver.
Samuel and Mary Thompson (nee Connor) had three children:
William James (born 13 January 1898 in Derrymore)
Thomas George (born 19 August 1899 in Derrymore)
Albert (born 18 December 1902 in Derrymore)
Their father, Samuel Thompson, died of pneumonia on 29 July 1916.
William James Thompson enlisted in Armagh, served with the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division and he was in France when his daughter, Mary Cordelia, was born on 29 February 1916 in Carnathan, Donaghadee. Her mother’s name was recorded as Ellen Thompson, formerly McKee. Mary Cordelia Thompson was baptised in Donaghadee Methodist Church.
Private William James Thompson (No. 14737) was 18 when he was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Initially he was reported as missing in action and in June 1917 it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed to have been killed on 1 July 1916.
Private William James Thompson (No. 14737) is commemorated on Bessbrook War Memorial and in Bessbrook Parish Church of Ireland Church (Christ Church).