RFA West Lancs Bdes
680681 DVR. J. THOMPSON. R.F.A.
John Thompson was born in Preston in April or May 1897 and baptised 0n 5 May at Preston Emmanuel Church. His father was Robert Henry Thompson (b. 1872 in Preston), a hawker of fish. His mother was Margaret (Maggie) Foy (b. 1872 in Walton Le Dale). Robert and Maggie were married in 1894 and they had 8 children though three died in infancy. John was their first born; his other siblings were: William (b. 1900), Isabella (b. 1904), Albert (b. 1908) and Lilly (b. 1910). In 1911, the family was living at 254 Brook Street, Preston, and John had recently started work as a cotton weaver.
John presumably served in the Territorials before the War and when he enlisted with the Royal Field Artillery he was first assigned service number 2180, which was later changed to 680681. He was posted to “B” Battery of 276 Brigade and he landed with his Division in France on 29 September 1915 (by which time he had just turned 18).
From the War Diary
9 April 1918 4.15am Enemy opened heavy H.E. and Gas bombardment on all Battery areas, Headquarters, and Wagon Lines. Batteries opened on “Counter preparation” and later on S.O.S. Hostile infantry reported attacking, and pressing back our Infantry on the Left. 164th Infantry Brigade still holding GIVENCHY. Continuous hostile shelling throughout the day. Enemy infantry at one time reached forward gun of A/276 Battery in GUNNER SIDING, but counter-attacked and driven off.
6.42pm A/276 Bty report all guns destroyed and personnel manning trench in front of position. Ordered to move personnel to Wagon lines with all material that can be salved. D/276 Battery moved forward gun back to main position. Throughout the day information received of enemy concentration. Batteries opened fire on all occasions, and with the exception of local encounters no further attack on a large scale developed on Group Front.
8.00pm Information received that 800 prisoners captured to date.
10 April 1918 7.30am FESTUBERT heavily shelled and enemy attacking in neighbourhood of LOISNE. (The enemy attack continued throughout the day but by) 8.30pm Infantry report enemy attack driven off. All Batteries ceased fire on S.O.S. lines but continued harassing fire at slow rate.
55th Division held the line throughout these days and maintained their position over the following days of the German attack.
John was killed in action on 10 April 1918. He was 20 years old.
Service No: 680681
Date of Death: 10/04/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “B” Bty, 276th Bde. Cemetery/memorial reference: Panel 3
Cemetery/Memorial: LOOS MEMORIAL
It appears John’s father, Robert Henry Thompson, served in the Royal Defence Corps. He served with 65th Protection Company and enlisted on 29 May 1915 and was discharged due to sickness on 25 December 1917. 65th Protection Company was in Eastern Command so may have been engaged in the defence of the North Sea ports.