Thompson, Frederick Thomas. Died 12th Apr 1918

Frederick Thomas THOMPSON was born in Rugby in late 1881. He was the second son of John Harris Thompson, who was born in Little Houghton, Northamptonshire and whose birth was registered in Hardingstone, Northamptonshire in Q3, 1856, and Elizabeth Charlotte Pool née Goode, Thompson, who was born in New Bilton and whose birth was registered in Rugby in Q2, 1854. Their marriage was in Rugby on 24 January 1879 and registered in Rugby in Q1, 1879.

Frederick was baptised on 19 October 1881 at St. Andrew’s church, Rugby, when the family were living at 5 Clifton Cottages and his father was a ‘fireman’.

In 1891, Frederick’s father’s career had progressed, he was now an ‘engine driver’, and the family were living at 14 Paradise Street, Rugby. Frederick was nine years old and had an elder sister and brother, and two younger sisters.

In 1901 the family were living at 41 Lower Hillmorton Road, Rugby, but Frederick, who would have been 19, was not at home that night and has not been located.

In 1911, Frederick was still single, aged about 29 and working as a ‘chauffeur’ and living at Westfield Cottage, Bilton Road, Rugby. Meanwhile, his parents had moved to 7 Albert Street, Milverton, Leamington Spa, where they would still be living when the CWGC were dealing with cemetery records after the war. His father was an ‘LNWR Engine Driver’.

There are no surviving military Service Records for Frederick. He joined up as a Private, No.M2/156874 in the Army Service Corps (A.S.C.)- probably as he had driving experience as a Chauffeur. His Medal Card does not give any date when he went abroad. He was latterly in the 648th MT Company, A.S.C.

The 648th Company was formed on 9 February 1916. Originally a Water Tank Company [MT] in UK, it then went to East Africa. Tracking other members of the 648th suggests that some, at least, went to East Africa in August 1917 – when a Charles Hutchinson ‘died at sea’ whilst on H. S. Araguaya on 29 August 1917.

The Company’s role in East Africa was as the 4th Auxiliary [MT] Company [maintenance services] Artillery Support. An earlier company 570th, which was formed in September 1915 and also served in East Africa was absorbed into 648th Company in June 1917.

There is no War Diary – but at the outbreak of the First World War Tanzania was the core of German East Africa. On 8 August 1914, the first recorded British action of the war took place here, when HMS Astraea shelled the German wireless station and boarded and disabled two merchant ships – the Konig and the Feldmarschall. From the invasion of April 1915, Commonwealth forces fought a protracted and difficult campaign against a relatively small but highly skilled German force under the command of General von Lettow-Vorbeck. The Royal Navy systematically shelled the city [of Dar-Es-Salaam] from mid August 1916, and on 4 September the deputy burgomaster was received aboard H.M.S. Echo to accept the terms of surrender. Troops, headed by the 129th Baluchis, then entered the city. On 12 September 1916, Divisional GHQ moved to Dar-Es-Salaam, and later No.3 East African Stationary Hospital was stationed there. The town became the chief sea base for movement of supplies and for the evacuation of the sick and wounded.

It seems likely that the 648th Company arrived after these events.

It seems that Frederick became sick and was probably evacuated to the 52nd Casualty Clearing Station, at Mingoyo, in Tanganyika. He was suffering from Dysentry. He died from that disease on 12 April 1918 – and was thus originally buried in grave Ref: 2. A. 2. [originally numbered C2] in the nearby Mingoyo Cemetery.

In the 1960s and 1970s when smaller and outlying cemeteries became too difficult to maintain, his body was ‘concentrated’.[1] It was identified by the ‘Unit A.S.C. on metal cross; on iron cross No. 156874 & unit A.S.C.M.T.’ that had identified his grave at Mingoyo.

Frederick Thomas Thompson was re-buried at the Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery, Tanzania, in grave reference: 5. M. 12.. His family had the inscription ‘Peace Perfect Peace’ added to his memorial stone.

The Dar-Es-Salaam War Cemetery is located on the coastal side of Bagamoyo Road, which heads north-west along the coast from the centre of Dar-Es-Salaam. It is about 5 kilometres from the city centre. The cemetery was created in 1968 when the 660 First World War graves at Dar Es Salaam (Ocean Road) Cemetery had to be moved to facilitate the construction of a new road. … During the early 1970s, a further 1,000 graves were brought into this site from cemeteries all over Tanzania, where maintenance could no longer be assured.

Frederick Thomas THOMPSON was awarded the British War and Victory Medals.   He is also commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby and on his family’s grave at Plot L80, at the Clifton Road Cemetery, Rugby.

His mother died in 1930, probably in Leamington, her death being registered in Warwick. His father died in Rugby in 1933.



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This article on Frederick Thomas THOMPSON was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, March 2018.


[1]       Individuals who were originally buried in smaller or isolated cemeteries, were, at a later date, exhumed and reburied in main war cemeteries. The concentration of cemeteries allowed otherwise un-maintainable graves to be moved into established war grave cemeteries where the Commission could ensure proper commemoration.


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