Thompson, John Owen

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John Owen Thompson

14536, Serjeant, 11th Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Died of wounds, 28 June 1918, aged 29
Buried at Sarigol Military Cemetery, Kriston, Greece

CWGC registered (no family recorded)

John Owen Thompson, the son of George Robert Thompson and his wife Ellen Thompson (née Owen) was born in Llandudno on 16 December 1888. George Thompson was a compositor/tobacconist and in 1891, the family lived at 19 Mostyn Street, Llandudno; John had an elder sister Catherine (8) and an elder brother Frank (6). Ellen Thompson died the following year and George Thompson married Mary Ann Whitlow in 1894. John attended St. George’s National School and Lloyd Street School. The Census of Wales for 1901 records the family living at 63 Mostyn Street – George Thompson was described as an employer and a newsagent/stationer. Catherine, Frank and John were described as shop assistants having one younger brother, Robert, and three step-siblings. In 1911, the family still lived at Mostyn Street but both Frank (26) and John (22) were recorded as living at “Dryhurst”, Somerset Street, Llandudno – both single and employed as assistant newsagents and stationers.

John Owen Thompson volunteered at Llandudno in September 1914. Later described as “the life and soul of the company”, he took his banjo with him when he joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers at Wrexham, being allocated to the 11th (Service) Battalion that formed in October 1914. His service number was 14536. The 11th RWF came under the orders of the 67th Brigade, 22nd Division, moving to Seaford but by June 1915 was billeted at Aldershot. The division landed in France in September 1915 though it re-embarked at Marseilles and was at Salonika by November 1915. John Thomson’s army record no longer survives, but judging from the medal roll, he was already a serjeant when he entered the theatre of war. The same record also indicates that his service with the 11th RWF was not continuous which suggests he may have been wounded or hospitalised for some other reason.

The Anglo-French forces that arrived in Salonika were too late to materially assist the Serbs who had been attacked by German, Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian armies. After preparing Salonika for defence, the troops moved up country. An offensive in the spring of 1917, part of which was the First Battle of Doiran, made little impression on the Bulgarian defences and the front line remained static until September 1918. It was during this period when John Owen Thompson was wounded in action with a shell wound to his head which penetrated his brain. He was admitted to No 31 Casualty Clearing Station on 28 June 1918 and died the same day. He was buried at Jane’s Military Cemetery but after the war was reinterred at Sarigol Military Cemetery, Kriston. This cemetery is about halfway between the modern Thessalonica and the border with Macedonia.

Known memorials:

  • Llandudno Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno War Memorial
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno

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