Poppy In memoriam Poppy

Private William Thomson


Thomson 1



William Thomson was born on 11 November 1889 at Conagher, Ballymoney, County Antrim, the second of seven children of farmer James Thomson and his wife Martha (nee Stewart).

On 13 December 1915 Thomson left the farm and enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Ballymoney (No.2037). He was made a lance corporal in June 1916 and on 3 August that year embarked for France with a reinforcement draft, reporting for duty with the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment at Flesselles a week later.

He reverted to the rank of private at his own request on 2 May 1917.

In September 1917 the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment was dismounted and most of its officers and men were transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – which was renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion. Like most of the men, Thomson was transferred to the battalion on 20 September. He was issued a new regimental number – 41407.

In November and December 1917 the 9th Battalion played a role in the Battle of Cambrai. After seeing action in the attempt to capture the village of Moeuvres, on 4 December they were rushed back into the line south of Marcoing to help repel the German counter-attack. The battalion war diary reads as follows:

Arrived in support trenches at 5.30 am the 4th [December].

[4 December] Battn in the trenches south of Marcoing in support of 88th Brigade. Relieved Essex & Hants Batts in front line at 4.30 am.

[5 December] Battn in the line. Capt Flood killed at 9 am by shrapnel.

[6 December] Battn in the line. Two companies in front line one in Support and one in Reserve for use as Battalion counter attack company. Enemy shelling position very heavily. 5 casualties – 4 O.R's

Private Thomson was seriously wounded by shrapnel at this time. He was brought the the 48th Casualty Clearing Station at Ytres, but died of his injuries there on 6 December.

According to a later report, in the Ballymoney Free Press of 14 March 1918:

Signaller McMaster was put down by the concussion of the shell which killed his captain [Robert Samuel Flood MC] and mortally wounded Trooper William Thomson of Conagher, whom he spoke to for the last time on the stretcher.

Thomson is buried in the Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt, Somme, France, grave VI.D.13. His gravestone inscription reads:



The following personal possessions were returned to his family: letters, photos, a pipe, two religious medallions, two religious books, a wallet, cards, a wrist watch guard, scissors, a pouch, two pencils, a cap badge, titles, a brooch, a diary, a notebook and a coin.


Thomson 3

Thomson's memorial plaque



Image of William Thomson from Ballymoney Heroes 1914-1918, by Robert Thompson. Images of Memorial Plaque and gravestone Copyright © Phillip Tardif with all rights reserved as set out in this Use of Material policy.