Alfred Henry Thompson was born in the winter of 1882 at Newbold on Avon, fifth of the seven children of Thomas and Jane (nee Webb) Thompson. He was baptised at St. Boloph’s, Newbold on Avon on 10 December, 1882. Thomas Thompson, of Newbold married Jane Webb, of Dunchurch at St. Peter’s Dunchurch on 30 September, 1873. They lived at Newbold until at least December 1884. Thomas’s occupation is stated as labourer. From 1884 onwards he was a railway servant, said to be a horse shunter in 1891 and a railway drayman in 1901. The family had moved away from Newbold, being at Little Pennington Street, Rugby in 1891, Abbey Street, Rugby in 1901 and New Street, New Bilton in 1911. By the time of the 1911 census Alfred Henry Thompson had married and was living at 44, Union Street, Rugby, with his wife, Annie Elizabeth (nee Curtlin) and their first son, William Henry, also stepson Archibald Frank Pittham (from Annie’s first marriage). Annie was from Thurlaston and married Alfred Henry at St. Peter’s, Dunchurch on 21 July, 1906. One further child was born in January 1912 – Walter Sydney. Following Alfred’s death in 1917, Annie married a third and final time, to Frederick Charles Pope (b.1875 – d.1948). They were still living at Union street in 1917. At the time he joined up Alfred was working for the British Petroleum Company, who had a depot in the town.
Walter Sydney Thompson emigrated to Western Australia in 1952 with his wife, Louisa (nee Kirby) and three children, and mother, Annie Elizabeth. Annie died in Western Australia in 1982 at the age of 96. Walter died in 1993.
William Henry Thompson, the first son, born 1907 in Rugby, remained there and died in 1969.
Archibald Frank Pittham, the stepson, fully supported by Alfred Henry, was born at Dunchurch in 1904, and died at Northampton in 1968, having moved there with his wife and two children prior to the second world war.
Alfred attested at Rugby on 11 December, 1915. Described as aged 33 years and 1 month, a labourer and never having served in H.M. forces before. Held on reserve until September 1916, his attestation had been approved in February, 1916, at No. 3 Depot, Hilsea barracks, Portsmouth, and appointed to the Royal Regiment of Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery, number 164470. He joined the No. 3 Depot as Gunner in September, 1916. Transferred to the infantry as a private in November, he finally transferred to the Durham Light Infantry as a private in January, 1917 and posted to France on the 11 January, 1917 as part of the British Expeditionary Force. Initially with the 15th D.L.I. At this time the 13th Durham Light Infantry were at the front near Ypres. The weather was poor. Very cold with rain and snow.
In July Alfred was with the 13th D.L.I., who on 6th July relieved the 8th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry at HILL 60 only 4500 metres from Ypres. This position was repeatedly fought over. It had been gained in the June during the battle of Messines, and remained in British control until April 1918. Alfred was in “D” Company of the 13th D.L.I. who were deployed at the front line, east of HILL 60. The 12th Battalion Durham Light Infantry relieved the 13th D.L.I. on the 10th July, who withdrew to Micmac camp, West of Dickebusch. In the period 7 July to 12 July, nine members of the 13th D.L.I. died. Six of whom have no known grave. Alfred Henry Thompson died after this period of fighting. He reached No.3 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station, at Remy sidings, 9000m west of Micmac, 20000m from the Ypres Salient. He is recorded in the Canadian C.C.S. war diary as dying on the 16th (all other records state 17th) of July of gun shot wounds to arm and side. Other records states left arm, and lung damage.
He was buried in the adjoining Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery. Unlike the graves of many of his comrades, his was not disturbed by shelling or fighting.
He was entitled to receive the Victory and British War medals. These were delivered to his widow in November 1921.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM