Thompson, Robert Arnold
No. 121604, East Lancashire Regiment
Died as the result of an accident on Sunday 14 April 1940 (aged 27)
Dundonald Cemetery, Co. Down (Section C. 1. Grave 9)
Family grave headstone in Dundonald Cemetery
Campbell College Belfast
Rockport School Craigavad
Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Holywood
Robert Arnold Thompson was a grandson of John Thompson who was born in 1847, raised on a farm near Ahoghill and in 1870 opened his first grain mill in Belfast. The company motto was Pioneers of Better Feeding Stuffs. The company mill was destroyed in 1941 during the Blitz and subsequently rebuilt.
John and Annie Thompson (nee Greer) had eight children – John, Joseph, William, James, Agnes, Stafford (died in infancy), Harry and Stafford.
Joseph, William, and James Thompson joined the family business and, in 1925, James became Managing Director following the death of his father. John Thompson died at his residence, Downshire House, Maxwell Road, Bangor.
John Thompson’s wife Annie had died there of cancer on 29 February 1920 (aged 72). In memory of his wife Annie, and of his daughter Agnes who died of emphysema on 4 March 1905 (aged 23), John Thompson donated an organ to Woodvale Presbyterian Church. There is a memorial plaque which bears the inscription:
THIS ORGAN IS THE GIFT
DOWNSHIRE HOUSE, BANGOR
IN MEMORY OF HIS
WIFE AND ONLY DAUGHTER
WHO WORSHIPPED IN THIS CHURCH
FROM 1895 TO 1905
WHOSO OFFERETH PRAISE
GLORIFIETH ME PSALM 50-23
NOVEMBER 19TH 1922
Robert Arnold Thompson was born on 7 February 1913 and he was a son of William and Florence Olivia Thompson (nee McClure) who were married on 18 September 1907 in Trinity Presbyterian Church, Bangor. William Thompson, a merchant from Bangor was a son of John Thompson, a merchant. Florence Olivia McClure (aged 19) from Bangor was a daughter of Robert McClure, an undertaker.
The Thompson family lived in Bangor, at 264 Seacliff Road, and in Princetown Road. They also lived in Belfast, at Lauriston, 15 Derryvolgie Avenue.
William Thompson was a grain mill manager and director in the family business and he and Florence Thompson (nee McClure) had four children:
Raymond Emerson (born 30 October 1909 in Seacliff Road, Bangor)
Robert Arnold (Bobby, born 7 February 1913 in Seacliff Road, Bangor)
William Stafford (Billy, born 21 April 1918 in Princetown Road, Bangor)
Hilda Marjorie (born around 1923/1924)
There is confusion regarding the forenames in the entries for the two middle siblings in civil birth registration records.
On 25 August 1909 James Thompson married Hilda Jane McClure, a sister of Florence Olivia McClure. They were married in First Holywood Presbyterian Church. James Greer Thompson, a merchant from Bangor was a son of John Thompson, a merchant. Hilda Jane McClure (aged 19) from Bangor was a daughter of Robert McClure, an undertaker. James Thompson died in 1962.
Robert Arnold Thompson attended Rockport School, Craigavad and then Campbell College, Belfast from September 1926 until July 1930. After leaving school he worked in the Sun Insurance Office and was also a director in the family firm Messrs John Thompson and Sons Ltd., Donegall Quay Mills, Belfast.
His brothers also attended Campbell College – Raymond Emerson Thompson and William Stafford Thompson.
During the Second World War Robert Arnold Thompson served with the East Lancashire Regiment and he was 27 when he died in Victoria Hospital, Blackpool on Sunday 14 April 1940 as the result of an accident. His effects amounted to some £145, and probate was granted to his widowed mother, Florence Olivia Thompson, then living at 41 Myrtlefield Park, Belfast.
Second Lieutenant Robert Arnold Thompson is commemorated in Rockport School; in Campbell College (there was a tribute published in The Campbellian Vol. 9, No. 12, July 1940) and on the family grave headstone in Dundonald Cemetery.
His father died on 27 January 1938 and his mother died on 3 April 1970.
His brother Raymond died on 8 March 2002 and Raymond’s wife Maureen died on 27 November 1995.
During the Second World War, Second Lieutenant Robert Arnold Thompson’s sister, Hilda Marjorie Thompson, served with the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). Leading Aircraftwoman Hilda Marjorie Thompson (No. 2097973) was 21 when she died of meningitis on 28 July 1945 and she was buried in Heliopolis War Cemetery, Cairo, Egypt (Grave 4. F. 18).