Private William Thompson


William Thompson was born on 1 January 1900 at 31 Nelson Street, Belfast, the second of seven children of car driver David Thompson and his wife Marcella (née Le Froy, or Lefeau). At the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 44 Little Corporation Street, Belfast, with his parents and siblings. The family later moved to nearby 3 Henry Street.

Thompson enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Belfast on 31 August 1916, reporting for duty at Antrim on the same day (No.2257). He gave his age as nineteen, though he was only sixteen at the time, and his occupation as fitter's helper.

Just days later, however, his true age was discovered, probably when his father wrote to the regiment seeking his discharge, providing a copy of his birth certificate as proof of age. On 9 September 1916 Thompson was discharged, 'having made a mis-statement as to age on enlistment, soldier under 17 years of age at date of application for discharge' (paragraph 392(vi)(a), King's Regulations).


Thompson's brother John was killed by a revolver shot during the rioting in Belfast on 30 August 1920.