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Cecil Cuthbert Thompson

Date of birth: 1890
Date of death: 14.07.1916
Area: Outwood, Wakefield
Regiment: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Family information: Husband of Mary nee Ward
Rank: Captain

War Service

In December 1914 Cecil Cuthbert Thompson was made a full Lieutenant in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
The 2nd Battalion, Inniskilling Fusiliers landed at Le Havre on 22nd August 1914, part of 12th Brigade, 4th Division of the British Expeditionary Force. Four days later they were involved in the rearguard action at Le Cateau, followed by the retreat to beyond the River Marne. September saw the start of the allied counter-offensive, which came to a halt on the Aisne. At this time the British Army disengaged and moved northwards into Belgium. Here the 2nd Battalion, Inniskilling Fusiliers, with the 4th Division, was involved in the Battle of Ypres, which resulted in the formation of the Ypres Salient.
Lieutenant Thompson was wounded on 15th May 1915 at the Battle of Festubert. He recovered and in June 1915, was promoted to the rank of Captain. He returned briefly to England and, on 9th July 1915, he married Mary Ward at Oxford. In December 1915 the 2nd Battalion, Inniskilling Fusiliers was attached to the 96th Brigade, 32nd Division.
Captain Thompson was wounded again in May 1916, when he was caught by the blast from a trench mortar. After spending two weeks in hospital he returned to his battalion and, in June, was appointed to second in command.
At the Battle of the Somme, which commenced on 1st July 1916, the 2ndBattalion was initially in brigade reserve for the assault on Thiepval. However, at 08.55 hours, when the leading waves of the 96th Brigade’s attack were cut down by machine gun fire, one Company of the 2nd Inniskilling’s was ordered forward. They were closely followed by other Companies of the 2nd Inniskilling’s. They too suffered the same fate as the leading waves and were forced to withdraw to their start lines. Having spent a few days out of the line at Warloy, on the 9th July the 2nd Inniskilling Fusiliers returned to the front line at Ovillers. Over the next four days the 2nd Battalion, attached to 14th Brigade, was involved in a series of attacks west of the village. Here objectives were gained and held against enemy counter-attacks, after hand to hand fighting. On the 14th July the 2nd Inniskilling Fusiliers were forced to retire to Bouzincourt, having incurred 267 casualties.
Captain Cecil Cuthbert Thompson was killed in action on 14th July 1916 and is now buried at Ovillers Military Cemetery. Ovillers, a small village 5 km from the town of Albert, was cleared of the enemy on 17th July 1916. The cemetery was started during the battle, when it was behind the site of a dressing station. The cemetery initially contained the graves of 76 British soldiers who fell between July and September 1916. However, after the Armistice, graves were brought in from the smaller cemeteries in the surrounding battlefields. The cemetery now commemorates 3,440 Commonwealth servicemen, of which 2,480 are unidentified.
Captain Thompson’s younger brother, Private Arthur Henry Thompson, was killed in action on 1st July 1916, when serving with the 12th Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment. At this time his widowed father, Samuel Thompson, was living at West View, Outwood. His wife Mary was living at Monmouth Road, Bayswater, London.

Family Life

Cecil Cuthbert Thompson was born in 1890, the eldest child of Samuel and Fanny Elizabeth Thompson of Church Street, Monk Bretton near Barnsley. At this time his father was an engine man at the local coal mine, but he later obtained employment as an agent for Prudential Assurance Company. Later the family moved to Hough Lane at Wombwell. This was about the time his father, Samuel Thompson, was appointed Assistant Superintendent at the Prudential Assurance Company.
Cecil Cuthbert Thompson was educated at St Mary’s School, Barnsley and the Barnsley Grammar School. He later obtained a degree from University College, Reading and was subsequently appointed one of the masters at Handsworth Grammar School, Birmingham. In December 1914 Cecil Cuthbert Thompson was admitted as a member of the Royal Geographical Society.
Cecil Cuthbert Thompson was a sergeant in the Reading University OTC and later gazetted as a second Lieutenant.

Ovillers Military Cemetery Ovillers Military Cemetery

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