Sgt Thomson James John

  • Year of birth: 1886
  • Place of birth: Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  • Date of death: 12/10/1917
  • Place of death: Keerselaarhoek, Belgium
  • Cause of death: Killed in action (K.I.A.)
  • Age: 31
  • Profession: Miner
  • Country: Australia
  • Rank: Sergeant
  • Service number: 206
  • Enlistment date: 10/01/1916
  • Enlistment place: Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  • Last known unit: Australian Infantry, 34th Bn.
  • Force: Australian Imperial Force

Memorial

Additional information

THOMSON JAMES JOHN
Sergeant James John Thomson served in the 34th Battalion (part of the 3rd Division, 9th Brigade)
of the AIF. The former miner from Newcastle, New South Wales, was single and at the age of 29,5
years he enlisted to the Australian Army together with his older brother William Lily.
He was a member of the West Wallsend Band and played the cornet. Years before, he was a member
of the well-known rugby team called the 'Black Diamonds,' which toured the country. He also
played soccer football.
They arrived in Europe in June 1916, and 1 year later he was promoted sergeant on 20th June 1917.

In October 1917 the battalion took part of the Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the 3rd Battle of Ypres.
In the evening of the 11th October the 34th Battalion proceeded satisfactorily until Zonnebeke Station was reached, followed by the 35th, 36th and 33th Battalion. From this point forward to
the jumping off line they were subjected to heavy shell fire. This shelling severly damaged the track and destroyed the direction tape in many places, thereby causing delay.
The Battalion completed its assembly up to time, and was formed up on the jumping off line at 02.45 a.m.. The Battalions following experienced the same difficulties which were increased, as the
passage of the men over one track and the constant rain, made the track knee deep in mud.
The Division attacked at 05.45 a.m. on 12th October 1917, about 350 yards behind the general line of attack. The 34th Battalion advanced in total confusion because of heavy shelling on the jumpoff
line. There were many men who were lost altogether in the bog. The pace of the advance was slowed up, owing to the assistance it was necessary to give men who had sunk into shell-holes, and
who could not extricate themselves without assistence.
The battle took the whole day, but it was already early in the morning when the two brothers were seen for last.
In the Red Cross Reports we can read that both brothers were hit by the same shell.
Probably was William killed instantly and James badly wounded at the left arm and side. He went back looking for a first aid post but was never seen anymore.

The body of sergeant James John Thomson was never found so he is commemorated on the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial, panel 23 stone W