L/17475 PTE. J. THOMPSON. R.F.A.
Joseph Thompson was born in the second quarter of 1894 in Bamber Bridge. His father was Thomas Thompson (b. 1869 in Walton Le Dale), a cotton twister. His mother was Sarah Jane Armstrong (b. 1870 in Horwich). Thomas and Sarah Jane were married at Brownedge St Mary’s in 1891 and they had 11 children but tragically lost six in infancy. The five surviving siblings were Thomas Edward (b. 1893), Joseph, Alfred (b. 1900), Mary Jane (b. 1902) and Frances (b. 1910). In 1911, the family was living at 4 Clayton Street, Bamber Bridge. Joseph was then 16 and working as a cotton spinner.
Joe served in the Royal Field Artillery. He possibly did some time with the Territorials before the War and must have enlisted in late 1914 or early 1915 but he did not follow the pattern of the other Briggers in the Artillery. His Medal Index Card says he landed in Egypt on 29 December 1915 but I don’t know which Division this was with. His service number was L/17475 and the Army Register of Soldiers' Effects says he was in “C” Bty of 189 Brigade. 189 Brigade was part of the Divisional Artillery of 41st Division. This Division was largely recruited in London and the south of England (the artillery brigades were all named after London boroughs, 189Bde was “Hackney”). 41st Division landed in France in May 1916 and took part in the Battle of the Somme, at Flers-Courcelette and Transloy Ridges. In 1917, they were engaged in the Battle of Messines and in the opening phases of the Third Battle of Ypres, at Pilkem Ridge (31 July – 2 August) and the Menin Road Ridge (20-22 September). 189 Brigade was broken up sometime in early 1917 so it is difficult to be sure exactly where Joe was but he likely remained attached to the 41st Divisional Artillery. Joe was killed in action on 13 September. He was 23 years old. His Division at the time was at Elzenwalle, south of Ypres, holding the forward line won at the Battle of Messines.
Service Number: L/17475
Date of Death: 13/09/1917
Service/Regiment: Royal Field Artillery, "C" Bty. 189th Bde. (CWGC incorrectly sates 9th Bde).
Cemetery/memorial reference: I. G. 6.
Cemetery: ELZENWALLE BRASSERIE CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Mrs. S. J. Thompson, of 4 Clayton Street, Bamber Bridge, Preston, and the late Thomas Thompson.
Joe’s brother was Thomas Edward Thompson. He is listed among the members of St Mary’s congregation who had enlisted by 1915, but I have no further information about where he served.