Thompson, William John (No. 18824)

Thompson, William John


No. 18824, ‘B’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Died of wounds on Tuesday 30 May 1916 (aged 18)


Forceville Communal Cemetery and Extension, France   

(Plot 1 Row D Grave 12)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Comber and District War Memorial

First Comber Presbyterian Church


William John Thompson was born on 12 December 1897 in Carnesure, Comber and he was a son of John and Martha Thompson (nee Kielty) who were married on 15 March 1889 in First Comber Presbyterian Church.  John Thompson from Ballygraffin was a son of Alexander Thompson, a labourer.  Martha Kielty from Carnesure was a daughter of William Kielty, a labourer.

John and Martha Thompson lived with Martha’s parents, William and Agnes Kielty, in Carnesure, then in Killinchy Street, Comber and then in High Street, Comber.

John Thompson worked as a general labourer and he and Martha had at least five children:

Sarah Jane (born 4 July 1889 in Carnesure)

Agnes (born 5 July 1895 in Carnesure)

William John (born 12 December 1897 in Carnesure)

Martha (born 22 January 1901 in Killinchy Street, Comber)

Anna (Annie, born 2 August 1909 in Killinchy Street, Comber)

Prior to the outbreak of the Great War William John Thompson was a member of the North Down Regiment of the Ulster Volunteer Force.  He was underage when he enlisted in Comber, he served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th Ulster Division and he was 18 when he died of wounds on 30 May 1916.

In the 10 June 1916 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle it was reported that he had been ‘wounded by shrapnel in both legs and the injuries were so severe that he only lived a few hours’.

Rifleman William John Thompson (No. 18824) was buried in Forceville Communal Cemetery and Extension in France and is commemorated on Comber and District War Memorial and in First Comber Presbyterian Church.  His age is recorded as 22 in the CWGC Debt of Honour (because he exaggerated his age at enlistment).