The whole reason I started this blog was to try to find out how far I can take back the Thompson bloodline to see where we actually came from and what I can find out about my ancesters. Hence the name of the blog being the Son of Thom supposedly meaning the ‘son of Thomas’ although I have read several different theories on this.
Daniel Thompson (1922 – 2002)
I can guess the best starting point is my Grandad who I was named after. His name was Daniel Thompson and he was born in Accrinton in Lancashire on the 20th July 1922.
His father was Thomas Thompson and his mum was Mary Hannah Thompson (maiden name Fairhurst). The next blog post will be all about Thomas so I won’t cover to much about him and Mary now.
Grandad grew up in Lancashire with his younger sister Bernice and had an apprentiship in plumbing.
His Dad Thomas died in 1939 just after World War 2 had started and his Mum Mary died a year later. He went to live with his Uncle Bill and Auntie Jen whilst Bernice went to live with another family member.
WORLD WAR 2
He was enlisted in the Recce Corp 13th Battn HLI (Highland Light Infantry) during the war in January 1942 at 20 years old and according to his Soldiers Service and Pay Book he was 5 foot 6 inches and 8 and 1/2 stone.
In 1944 he was posted to the 1st SAS Parachute Regiment. This is the part that fascinates me the most about Grandad but know the least amount. As a child I remember being told under no circumstances were we to ask Grandad questions about the war and he didn’t speak much about it to my father or his siblings either.
It was not until I was older, and sadly after my Grandad had passed away, that I really understood what a prestigious achievement it was to be part of the SAS. I wished I had taken the opportunity to ask him questions when he was around. Although, I strongly suspect I would of been given a clip around the ear if I had pushed him to answer questions he didn’t want to answer.
To try and find out more, during a recent trip to the Imperial War Museum with my Dad and Sister, we requested to view the SAS War Diary and found him mentioned in a report. He was taken prisoner by the Germans in the Forest of Orléans, France, when he and a colleague were washing in the stream whilst taking part in ‘Operation Gain’. The objective of the operation was to cut rail communications in the Orléans region to the south-west of Paris in German-occupied France in an effort to prevent German forces from other parts of France from reaching the Normandy area in substantial numbers. This is same operation that SAS founder Major Ian Fenwick would be killed in defending the SAS base.
We know that he escaped the Germans from little snippets Grandad had mentioned, and from a telegram sent home to his Uncle Bill and Auntie Jen telling them he had gone missing in action, only several days later to received another telegram to say he had been found in an overseas hospital. The dates from the telegrams and a letter home to his Uncle and Auntie also tie in with the report in which he was mentioned in the SAS War Diary.
There is another mention of a Thompson later in the book but were not sure if it is him as there were several Thompson’s or Thomson’s in the SAS at the time. From photos we believe he was possibly part of ‘Operation Archway’, ‘Operation Keystone’ and was in Belgium for VE Day.
Whilst serving in the SAS he would meet his future wife Joyce Mary Sparkes who was working in the NAFFI in Chelmsford, Essex where the SAS Headquearters were based within Hylands Park. My Dad has mentioned a story about the SAS getting a 4×4 Jeep stuck up the stairs of Hylands House (whilst the soldier were pissed) and they had to dismantle the Jeep to get it down. I wouldn’t mind visiting Hylands House at some point as I think their is a plaque on the wall about it.
When Grandad married my Nana in Chelmsford on the 6th June 1946 his best man was none other than the SAS legend, Captain Paddy Mayne. I want to try and find out more about this story.
Grandad and Nana would go on to have 5 Children. Sue, Lynn, Richard (My Father), Judy and Andrew. He also worked as a plumber and fireman before retiring.
I have always felt like I had a huge bond with my Grandad. I am not sure whether this is because I was named after him or because he was the first person in my life I would lose. Sadly I didn’t get to attend his funeral as I was really ill and went into hospital later that night with Pneumonia.
I still feel a sense of presence with him and I am sure he is looking over me. I had a feather tattoo on my arm to remind me of him as there have been several instances where a white feather has turned up in times of need. I am convinced this is him!
I intend to update this blog post as I look through the SAS research and we have compiled more information, and with help from my family to fill in the blanks.
If you have any questions you would like to ask me about my Grandad Daniel Thompson, please ask below in the comments.
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