Thomson, Humphrey Barron (Humphrey)
No. 128238, Royal Army Medical Corps attached East Surrey Regiment
Died as the result of enemy action on Sunday 14 December 1941 (aged 25)
No known grave
Singapore Memorial, Singapore (Column 103)
Campbell College Belfast
Queen’s University Belfast War Memorial
Humphrey Barron Thomson was born on 25 January 1916 at 25 University Square, Belfast, and he was the only child of Sir William Willis Dalziel Thomson MD FRCP and Lady Thomson (nee Josephine Hunter Barron) of Annahilt, Hillsborough, Co. Down.
They were married on 22 October 1914 in Duncairn Presbyterian Church, Belfast and lived at 25 University Square, Belfast. Sir William Thomson was professor of medicine at Queen’s University, Belfast for 27 years and he died on 26 November 1950 (aged 65). He had a country residence – Seven Tides – in Donaghadee where he enjoyed gardening. During the First World War he served as Captain with the RAMC in No. 13 General Hospital at Boulogne.
Humphrey Barron Thomson attended Campbell College, Belfast from September 1929 until July 1933 and he studied medicine at Queen’s University, Belfast, graduating in 1939. On 19 April 1940 Humphrey Thomson and Mary Graham (Mary) Glendinning of Island Reagh, Comber were married in Fitzroy Presbyterian Church, Belfast and they lived for a time at Malone, Belfast. Mary Glendenning was the youngest daughter of Acheson Harden Glendinning who was a director of William Coates and Sons, Belfast.
After graduating in medicine from Queen’s University, Humphrey Thomson worked for a short time as a house surgeon in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and went to Malaya with the East Surrey Regiment. His Battalion was holding part of the border between Kedah (in the north-west Malay Peninsula) and Thailand. The regimental aid-post of the East Surreys, established near Alor Star, was attacked, and wiped out by the Japanese in the early days of the invasion of Malaya. The Sergeant of the unit escaped and reported that Captain Thomson had been killed in this assault. Before his death was confirmed he was reported as missing by the War Office and this news was reported in the 14 February 1942 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle under the headline Comber Lady’s Loss.
Captain Humphrey Thomson is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial; in Campbell College and on the Queen’s University War Memorial. The Thomson Room in the Medical Library at Queen’s University, Belfast was furnished ‘to keep alive the memory of Captain Humphrey Thomson’.
A tribute published in the Campbellian (Vol. 10, No. 10, December 1943) contained the following, ‘Humphrey was full of the joy of life and his wit and keen sense of humour, his high ideals of honour, his straightforward nature, his outspoken championship of what he considered right won the regard and affection of his contemporaries, while his innate kindness of heart and his old-world courtesy endeared him to the older generation’.