Poppy In memoriam Poppy

Private Thompson Harpur

 

Harpur

 

Thompson Harpur was born on 12 March 1897 at Monreagh, Taughboyne, County Donegal, the tenth of twelve children of National School teacher John James Harpur and his wife Ellen Jane (Jeannie) (nee Smyth). By 1911 he was living with his family at Academy Terrace and Fairman Place, Londonderry, but a year later they had moved to Glandore Street in Belfast.

Harpur enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Londonderry on 2 or 3 September 1914 (No.1084). On 28 April 1915 he embarked for France with a reinforcement draft, where he was posted, most likely, to C Squadron.

In June 1916 C and F Squadrons of the North Irish Horse joined with the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until August 1917. The following month the 2nd Regiment was dismounted and most of its men were transferred to the infantry. After training at the 36th (Ulster) Division Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur, the men were formally transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers on 20 September and soon after were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – re-named the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt. Harpur was issued regimental number 41433 and posted to C Company.

It is likely that he saw action with the battalion in the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Following the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive, Harpur was one of the many listed as missing. In fact he had been captured, having suffered a leg wound. He died in captivity as a result of his wound on 18 May 1918.

Private Harpur was buried at Avesnes-sur-Helpe Communal Cemetery, Nord, France, grave D.12. The gravestone inscription reads:

41433 PRIVATE
T. HARPUR
ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS
18TH MAY 1918 AGE 21

CHRIST IS ALL
HE GIVETH HIS BELOVED SLEEP
UNTIL THE DAY BREAK

 

Image kindly provided by Steve Rogers, Project Co-ordinator of the The War Graves Photographic Project, www.twgpp.org.