Thompson, William Oscar

Thompson, William Oscar (Bill)


Royal Marine Police

Accidentally drowned on Thursday 22 August 1940 (aged 49)


Douglas Bank Cemetery, Rosyth, Scotland


Bangor and District War Memorial

Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s)

Family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery

Father of Rifleman Ernest Oscar Thompson (No. 7020212)


William Oscar (Bill) Thompson was born on 20 July 1890 in Derrygonnelly, Co. Fermanagh and he was a son of Frederick and Margaret Ellen Thompson (nee Griffith, sometimes Griffiths) who were married on 4 December 1887 in Fivemiletown Parish Church of Ireland Church, Co. Tyrone.  Frederick Thompson, who was born in Dublin, was a Constable in the Royal Irish Constabulary and after he retired, he worked as a gamekeeper.  Margaret Ellen Griffith, who was born in England, worked as an Upper Housemaid in Blessingbourne House near Fivemiletown.  This manor house on an 8,000-acre estate overlooked Lough Fadda and was owned by Hugh de Fellenberg Montgomery.

Frederick and Margaret Ellen Thompson (nee Griffith) had seven children:

Robert (born around 1888/1889 in England)

William Oscar (born 20 July 1890 in Derrygonnelly, Co. Fermanagh)

Ryland George (born 26 August 1891 in Derrygonnelly, Co. Fermanagh; died of tuberculosis 29 October 1913 in Castle Street, Bangor)

Frederick Charles (born 9.30am 13 February 1893 in Kesh, Co Fermanagh)

Harold Reuben (born 11.15am 13 February 1893 in Kesh, Co Fermanagh)

Joseph Percival (born 25 September 1894 in Kesh, Co Fermanagh)

Lillian Maude Mary (Lily, born 14 March 1897 in Kesh, Co Fermanagh)

When the Thompson family moved to Bangor, they lived at 76 Castle Street.  Frederick Thompson died of stomach cancer on 6 March 1902 in the Royal Hospital, Belfast and thereafter, Margaret Ellen worked as a gatekeeper.

William Oscar (Bill) Thompson and Margaret Stockdale were married on 2 April 1910 in Bangor Abbey Church of Ireland Church.  William Thompson (aged 21), a groom from Castle Street, Bangor was a son of Frederick Thompson, a constable in the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), deceased.  Margaret Stockdale (aged 21) from Bangor was a daughter of Robert Stockdale, a farmer.

William Oscar (Bill) Thompson worked as a window cleaner and he and Margaret Thompson (nee Stockdale) had at least seven children including:

Margaret Ellen (born 6 September 1910 at 43 Beatrice Road, Bangor)

William John (born 24 February 1912 at 43 Beatrice Road, Bangor)

Esther Eveline (Essie, born 14 August 1913 at 43 Beatrice Road, Bangor)

Thomas Clarence (born 7 October 1920 at 14 King Street, Bangor)

Ernest Oscar (born 1922)

Cecil (born 1925)

Later the Thompson family lived at 42 Railwayview Street, Bangor.

Bill Thompson served throughout the First World War with the Royal Field Artillery and he joined up again in May 1940.  Between the two world wars he operated a window cleaning business in Bangor.

During the Second World War Constable Bill Thompson served as a member of the Royal Marine Police at Rosyth Dockyard, Fife in Scotland and on 22 August 1940 he was accidentally drowned.  That was the date when he was last seen alive, and his body was not found until 5 September 1940.  He was interred in Douglas Bank Cemetery, Rosyth on 7 September 1940 and there is an inscription on his headstone:



Bill Thompson was survived by:

  • His wife:

Margaret Thompson

  • His four sons:

William Thompson (a member of Bangor Golf Club’s senior team)

Clarence Thompson (a Rangefinder in the Royal Field Artillery)

Ernest Oscar Thompson (a Rifleman who drowned on active service on 17 November 1943)

Cecil Thompson (who died on 9 November 1940 aged 15½)

  • His three daughters:

Essie (Mrs Bertie McMillan)


Maureen Doris

  • His two brothers:

Reuben and Fred Thompson

  • His sister:

Lily Thompson

His wife Margaret placed a Death Notice in the 14 September 1940 edition of the County Down Spectator and it included the following verse:

Short and sudden was the call,

His sudden death surprised us all;

Only those who have lost can tell

The sorrow of parting without farewell.

Constable William Oscar Thompson was 49 when he died, and he is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial; in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s) and on the family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery.

There is an inscription on the family headstone:



His wife Margaret died on 20 March 1965.