Private Frederick Thompson


Frederick (or Wilfred) Thompson was born on 9 January 1900 at Andraid, between Ballymena and Randalstown, County Antrim, the last of eight children of farmer James Thompson and his wife Sarah (née McAuley). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Andraid with his parents and three of his six surviving siblings.

Thompson enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 1 or 2 November 1915 (No.1773). He must have over-stated his age, as he was only fifteen at the time. He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Thompson, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. Thompson was issued regimental number 41499 and posted to D Company.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Thompson was one of the many posted as missing following the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive. It was later learned that he had been captured, unwounded, on 27 March at Erches, near Roye, when much of the battalion had been overwhelmed by the fast-moving German advance. He remained a prisoner until the end of the war, held at the camp in Giessen.


Two of Thompson's brothers also served in the war – Thomas in the Army Service Corps, and Robert in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.