Walter THOMPSON

THOMPSON, Walter

Service Number: 5127
Enlisted: 14 April 1917, Enlisted in Brisbane
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 31st Infantry Battalion AMF
Born: Brettell Lane, Stourbridge, Worchestershire, England, 28 October 1862
Home Town: Brisbane, Brisbane, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Grocer
Died: Heart Attack, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 19 October 1937, aged 74 years
Cemetery: Toowong (Brisbane General) Cemetery
Plot number 10-41-16
Memorials:
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World War 1 Service

14 Apr 1917: Enlisted AIF WW1, SN 5127, 31st Infantry Battalion AMF, Enlisted in Brisbane
14 Jun 1917: Involvement Private, SN 5127, 31st Infantry Battalion
14 Jun 1917: Embarked Private, SN 5127, 31st Infantry Battalion, HMAT Hororata, Sydney
2 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 5127, 31st Infantry Battalion AMF
7 Feb 1918: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, SN 5127, 31st Infantry Battalion AMF, Discharged Medically Unfit suffering from Senility.

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Biography contributed by Tracey Sullivan

Walter Thompson was born in Brettnell Lane, Stourbridge, Worchestershire, England on 28 October 1862.

He was the 7th of 10 children born to John Thompson and Catherine McIntyre.  He had 3 sisters and 6 brothers.

Walter's father was a glass cutter and died in 1870 when Walter was just 8 years old.

In 1871, Walter's mother Catherine decided to pack up her remaining 7 children and pay their own way to start a new life in Australia. A very brave move for a widow.  They arrived in Moreton Bay (Brisbane, Qld) on 21 July 1871 onboard the "INDUS".

Walter was shortish at only 5ft 3in, with a fair complexion (probably from his Scottish heritage) with blue eyes and dark hair.

In 1883, at the age of 21 Walter married Elizabeth Purchase, who was a dress-maker and 5 years his senior.  6 months later their first child was born.  Walter and Elizabeth had 6 children together. 2 girls and 4 boys.   Ivy, Edward, Evelyn, Walter, Sydney and George.

Walter was a Grocer and he lived in Bulimba in Brisbane for much of his married life, except for a few years when he and Elizabeth moved to Sydney and Walter tried his hand at being a Salesman.  They moved to Sydney, NSW around 1892, but had returned to Brisbane by 1899. 

Walter wanted to join the Army and help defend Australian during WW1.   Unfortunately,  he was too old and too short, being only 5ft 3in.  Australia, in desperate need of men to join the war effort, raised the joining age to 45 years and lowered the height regulation to 5ft.  

Walter lied about his age to join the AIF.  He was actually 55 years old when he joined the army, but claimed on his Attestation Papers for enlistment that he was 44 years and 6 months old and said he had no children.

He was in good health and sent to Hurdcott training camp in Wiltshire, England.  He was returned to Australia 5 months later suffering from "Senility". The term "senility" was used to describe many mental illnesses, including depression, shell shock and dementia.  We don't know the extent or cause of Walter's senility but he went on to lead a long life.

Walter's wife, Elizabeth, died shortly after his return at the age of 62, in 1919, leaving Walter a widow at the age of 57.

He married German widow, Ellen Mary Claud Henricks, in 1926.

Walter died on 10 October 1937 at the age of 75 from a heart attack.  He is buried next to Elizabeth at Toowong Cemetary.

His 2nd wife Ellen, died in 1943.

Walter was survived by only 2 of his children, Evelyn and George, and around 20 grandchildren.  Walter had disowned his youngest son, after George deserted his wife and 10 children to live with another woman and the 3 children he had fathered with her.  

Rest in Peace, Walter Thompson.  Thank you for serving.

 

 

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