Private John Thompson

Private John Thompson, son of the late Charles Frederick Thompson of West Bromwich, by his wife Maria of 109a, Adelaide Road, Hampstead, London, N.W.3., born 1893, West Bromwich.

John joined the Honourable Artillery Company (Infantry) on 24th August 1914, leaving England for France with the H.A.C.

on 26th December following. He was wounded in action at Bellewaarde, near Ypres on 16th June 1915, for which action he was awarded the D.C.M. On recovery he was given a commission, with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in the R.F.C. Awarded D.C.M. London Gazette 11 March 1916. ‘For Conspicuous Gallantry’. Although wounded he advanced with his platoon to the first line of a threatened flank and refused to leave his men till he had led them back at the end of the day.’

2nd Lieutenant (Pilot) J. Thompson, No. 19 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, formerly Honourable Artillery Company (Infantry), awarded the D.C.M. for gallantry at Bellewaarde, and subsequently killed in aerial combat over Ytres, Somme, whilst on a bombing raid her became the fifth victim of Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (2 May 1892 – 21 April 1918), widely known as the Red Baron. John was killed in action on 16 October 1916 over Ytres, Somme, when his BE12 became the fifth plane to be shot down by Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (The Red Baron).

Manfred von Richthofen erroneously claimed that Lieutenant E. W. Capper was the pilot of the plane he shot down on this day. As Lieutenant Capper did not become a casualty until April 1917, it is probable that Thompson was either wearing an item of clothing or carrying a map with Capper’s name marked on it.

He is buried at Lebucquiere Communal Cemetery Extension.


Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12 (6580)

John Thompson was flying a Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12 (6580)

Albatros D.II (491/16)

Manfred von Richthofen was flying an Albatros D.II (491/16)

Later he would fly the more remembered Fokker Dr.I Dreidecker (Triplane)