Meldreth Soldier Sent to India, 1916

Sergeant Joseph Frank Thompson

By John Crawforth

Photo:Sergeant Thompson seated on the left

Sergeant Thompson seated on the left

Herts and Cambs Reporter

Joseph Frank Thompson was born in 1877. He married his wife, Elizabeth (nee Chamberlain), in 1910 and at the time of the 1911 census they were living in Chiswick End, Meldreth. At this stage, they had two daughters, Louie, born in 1905 and Winnie Maris born in 1911. A son, Joseph Edward, was born in 1913 and a further daughter, Florence, in 1915.

Joseph Frank Thompson's parents, Mr Edward and Mrs Sarah Thompson, who had three older sons, also lived in Chiswick End, Meldreth.

Photo:Chiswick End where the Thompson family lived

Chiswick End where the Thompson family lived

John Crawforth, March 2014

Joseph served for eight years in the Royal Sussex Regiment and four years on the Reserve.

Two months after the outbreak of the Great War (July 1914) he joined the Rifle Brigade and, by then holding the rank of Sergeant, he was sent out to India on January 11th 1916.

He is pictured above, the left of the two seated figures.

In a letter to the Herts and Cambs Reporter  the four servicemen in the photograph, one another local man from Royston, said that they were “happy in the knowledge that although parted from their wives and families they are doing their little bit to help Britain win this war.”

Before the War Joseph was employed at the East Anglian Cement Works at Shepreth. It seems that he returned to work there after the war as the same newspaper carried a report (in 1933) under the heading "Sad Fatality at Shepreth Cement Works" of the death, at the age of 55, of a Mr Joseph Frank Thompson, in an industrial accident at the Shepreth works where it was said that he had worked for a number of years. The inquest recorded a verdict of "death by misadventure". At the time of his death he was living in Melbourn and was described as a "married man with a grown up family, excepting one son, who is still of school age." This was the Thompson's youngest son, William, born after the war in 1920.

This page was added by John Crawforth on 12/03/2014.

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