A Great War, German Spring Offensive, Memorial Scroll awarded to Private John Henry Thompson, “C” Company, 36th Battalion Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) who was killed in action on the 21st of March 1918, (Pte. John Henry Thompson Machine Gun Corps) framed and glazed in contemporary frame, very fine.
John Henry Thompson was born in Wandsworth, Surrey, he was a resident of Peckham and he joined the Army in Camberwell, he was originally Private 5421 of the London Regiment transferring to “C” Company of the 36th Battalion of the Machine Gun Corps, (Infantry). He was killed in action, first reported as missing on the first day of the German Spring Offensive the 21st of March 1918.
The War Diary States:
21st March 1918
When the German offensive commenced B. C. and D. Coys were in the line with A. Coy in Divisional Reserve at Happencourt. D. Coy was on the right Brigade front, B. Coy Centre Brigade and C. Coy left Brigade front.
Enemy barrage opened and the first shell fell into Happencourt at the same time killing 3 and wounding 10 men in Battn. Headquarters.
“Man Battle Stations ” received. A. Coy moved to G.36 under Lieut. Bolton and the remaining Battn. Transport to Tugny et Pont under Major Low. 2 guns under Lieut. K. Hansell moved to position at Essigny Station. Enemy still continued to shell Happencourt.
Dull misty morning, impossible to see more than 100 yds. Battn H.Q. moved to 109th Infantry Brigade HQ in the Quarry at Hamel Lock.
In touch with four Company Commanders at their respective Bde. HQs. A. Coy ordered to man Redoubt Line. Battle Zone. 3 Drivers and 10 Mules wounded at G.3.b. while waiting for the order. Little information from Forward Zone due to the intensity of enemy Artillery fire. All forward buried cable broken. Nos 3 and 8 guns destroyed, the mist hiding the approach of the enemy. No 9 Gun destroyed by shell fire and replaced by 1 gun and team from A. Coy.
Guns 9 and 11 destroyed by heavy shelling of their positions and No 13 and 14 withdrawn to the quarry at B.27.b to escape a similar fate.
Infantry retired on the flanks and left No 11 and 12 guns exposed. Enemy bombed down trench and captured the guns. M.5 gun destroyed by shell fire about this time leaving a total of 7 guns in centre sector. These guns reinforced by one gun team which succeeded in returning from Grugies together with the surviving guns of A. And V. Coys retired and took up positions with the infantry on the Happencourt-Hamel road west of the canal. Battn. HQ evacuated the Quarry at Hamel Lock and proceeded to Pithon with the Transport and Battn. details.
John was posted as missing in action during this pivotal day of action in the Great War. His family tried to locate him through the Red Cross but to no avail. And he was classified as Killed in Action on the 21st of March 1918. His body was not located after the war and he is commemorated on the Poziers Memorial to the missing, panels 90-93.
He was the son of William and Johanna Thompson of 9, Rams Square, Wandsworth and husband of Amy Thompson of 29, St David Street, Southwark, London
Sold with Commonwealth War Graves Commission information, copy medal Index card (entitled to a Great War pair), copy Red Cross search information, copy pension records and copy of Battalion War Diary.