WW1 Lance Corporal William Thompson 26943

Lance Corporal William Thompson [1]

William (Will) Thompson was born on 19 August 1887 in Manchester, England to John and Annie Thompson of 97 Barnmouth St, Bradford, Manchester.

His mother’s address was subsequently given as Avice Street; 91 Clonbern Rd, Remuera; 1 Aratonga St, Greenlane; Mangere Rd, Otahuhu; Winters Rd, Papatoetoe. At enlistment on 31 May 1916, Will’s address was C/o Mrs Turner, Norana Avenue, Remuera and his employment as traveller for Hutchinson Bros., Queen St, who set up a department –type store for dry goods and groceries in 1910. [1]

Will was posted first to A Company of the 17th reinforcements as Private in and then promoted to Lance Corporal on 18 June 1916, transferred to 21st Infantry on 3 September 1916, was allocated to A Coy 21 on the 9 September 1916 and then promoted to Corporal on 22 September and Sergeant on 5 October 1916. [2] Over the next few months Will was in A Coy 23 at Featherston and Trentham Camps and appeared before a medical board with breathing difficulties due to a deflected septum and nasal catarrh, caused by a broken nose from when he was a boy. It was not until 12 June 1917 that he sailed on the Maunganui to Devonport in England and marched into Sling camp on 16 August 1917 as part of the 4th Reserve Battalion Auckland Regiment A Company. On 1st October 1917 he passed for the rank of Corporal but reverted to Lance Corporal at his own request on 26th October when he left for France to go to the New Zealand Infantry & General Base Depot at Etaples, just missing New Zealand’s biggest defeat at Passchendaele on the 12th October 1917. On 7 November 1917 he joined the New Zealand Division 1st Battalion of the Auckland Infantry Regiment. In December and January 1918 Will was detached to Brigade School and rejoined the 1st Battalion Auckland Infantry Regiment on 26 January 1918. William Thompson was killed in action in the field that same day.

“On January 20th we were relieved by the 2nd Brigade and moved back into Divisional reserve. This proved to be a fairly easy relief, as we proceeded by light railway from Birr Cross Roads on the Menin Road, about two miles east of Ypres. The 1st Battalion went to Howe Camp, Brigade Headquarters and the 2nd and 3rd Battalions to Walker Camp, and the 4th to Dickebusch Huts. On the whole the weather now was fine, and all ranks enjoyed to the full the short spell of comparative rest. Large parties were supplied for construction-work, carrying and salvaging, but we were able to devote a considerable amount of time to recreational and general training, battalion parades and inspections, and bathing at the Divisional Baths.” [3]

The casualties suffered during the month of January, 1918, were:—

Killed. Wounded. Missing.

Officers — 5 —

Other ranks 38 149 1

William Thompson — Wargraves [2]

William is remembered on memorials at:

• Buttes New British Cemetery (NZ) Memorial, Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium

• St. Aidans Church, 5 Ascot Avenue, Remuera, Auckland 1050


His family remembered him in the newspaper:

ON ACTIVE SERVICE FOR KING AND COUNTRY THOMPSON.—On January 26, 1918 killed in action in France. Corporal William Thompson, of the Twenty-sixth Reinforcements, dearly beloved eldest son of John and Annie Thompson. 91, Clonbem Road, Remuera. Late employee of Hutchinson Bros., Ltd., Queen Street; aged 28. Sadly missed.

He bravely answered duty’s call, 

He gave his life for one and all: 

But the unknown grave is the bitterest blow, 

Only those who loved him know. 

Could we have raised his dying head 

Or heard his last farewell; 

The shock would not have been so hard, 

For those who loved him well. 


IN MEMORIAM. THOMPSON. —In loving memory of my dear son. Corporal William Thompson (Will), of the Twenty-sixth Reinforcements, who was killed in action in France, January 27, 1918.

One year ago to-day, 

My dear son was called away; 

Death only comes to show us 

That we love more dearly than we know, 

For love ln death should make us see 

What love in life should really be. 

Inserted by his loving parents. Annie and John Thompson, Otahuhu (late Remuera).


THOMPSON.—In loving memory of my dear brother. Corporal William Thompson, who was killed in action January—27 1918.

We see sisters greeting brothers. 

We see sons who wave to mothers: 

Oh have pity for the eyes that look 

For those who do not come. 

Inserted by his loving sister and brother-in-law, A. and J. Sparks, Otahuhu.


THOMPSON. —In loving memory of Corporal William Thompson (Will) of the Twenty-sixth Reinforcements, who was killed in action in France. January 27, 1918.

We think of him in silence. 

And make no outward show. 

For the heart that mourns sincerely 

Mourns silently and low. 

Inserted by his loving sister and brother-in-law. G. and A. E. Westcott, also Eva, Ernest, and Roland, Winters Road, Papatoetoe. [4]


THOMPSON.—In loving memory or cur dear brother. Corporal William Thompson, of the Twenty-sixth Reinforcements was killed in action in France January 26, 1918.

We never shall forget him 

While life and memory last; 

His vision is ever near us. 

To remind us of the past. 

Inserted by his loving sister and brother-in-law, N. and B. Taylor. [5]