Irving THOMPSON

THOMPSON, Irving

Service Number: 2796
Enlisted: 4 August 1915
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 5th Pioneer Battalion
Born: Gunnedah, New South Wales, 1898
Home Town: Gunnedah, Gunnedah, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Ironmomger
Died: Killed in Action, Fromelles, France, 21 July 1916
Cemetery: Rue-du-Bois Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix
Rue-Du-Bois Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix, Bethune, Nord Pas de Calais, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Gunnedah Cenotaph, Gunnedah Public School WW1 Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

4 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, 2796, 17th Infantry Battalion
2 Nov 1915: Involvement Private, 2796, 17th Infantry Battalion
2 Nov 1915: Embarked Private, 2796, 17th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Euripides, Sydney
18 Feb 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 55th Infantry Battalion
28 Mar 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 5th Pioneer Battalion

Help us honour Irving Thompson's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Michael Silver

Irving Thompson enlsited with his older brother Victor Wright Thompson following a rallying speech by the leader of the Australian Opposition, Joseph Cook in August 1915.

Living with his parents on the family property 'Rockdale' on the western fringe of Gunnedah Irving put his age up to enlist. The Thompson brothers sailed in a convoy of ships that arrived in Egypt on December 5, 1915. They made their way in separate ships and in different units, but were despatched almost immediately to northern France.

Irving Thompson was pitched into battle at Fromelles, an engagement which exacted the highest toll on the AIF during the whole war. On the night of 19-20 July 1916, 5533 Australians became casualties, among them 1933 dead. He was one of the 20 per cent of Australians who escaped death or wounding that night.

The following day, Irving volunteered to try to rescue wounded and dying soldiers, still lying in no-man's-land. But he, too, became a statistic, cut down by machine-gun fire. Later, a brief truce was agreed and some 300 men were rescued, though by then it was too late for Irving Thompson. He was buried in Rue du Bois Cemetery.

His brother Victor, won the Military Medal at Bullecourt in May 1917 as well as the French Croix de Guerre. He returned to Australia in late 1917, medically unfit due to a severe shrapnel wound to his left leg.

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