November 26 – Roll of Honour

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The Veteran recalled today is one of the most famous men in Irish medicine. Sir William Thompson was Professor of Medicine at QUB for 27 years. In WW1 he served with the RAMC and in particular with fellow Belfast man Colonel (later Sir) Almroth Wright in an RAMC Research Unit attached to the 13th General Hospital at Bologne. Together they made important medical breakthroughs. Sir William’s son, an only child, served as a Captain with the RAMC during WW2 and was killed during the fall of Singapore. Photo – Sunrise at Janvil Cemetery, Dieppe.

Representing their comrades who died on this day

1914

+GUBBEY, William Ernest
Royal Navy. Ordinary Seaman. J19564. Died 26/11/1914. Aged 18. Born 21/02/1896. Son of William Henry and Alice Maud Eleanor Gubbey, of 2, Renny Rd., Fratton, Portsmouth – living at Ballycastle at time of son’s death. Gillingham (Woodlands) Cemetery. Ballycastle WM

+FOWLES, Cyril Gerald
RN. Boy I. J24235. HMS Vivid. Died 26/11/1914 in Cromarty Cottage Hospital of septicemia. Boy service from 24/04/1913. Enrolled 09/10/1915 for 12 years. War service in Vivid, Devonshire and Vivid I. Born Ballycastle 09/10/1897. Rosskeen Parish Graveyard, D508. ADM 188/695/24235

1940

+KERR, Samuel John
RAF. Aircraftman 2nd Class. 976712. Died 26/11/1940 in RAF hospital in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. Enlisted in December 1939 at the age of 19 years old thus he was old enough to serve abroad. Eldest son of Samuel Kerr and Alice Kerr of Railway Street, Portadown. His father had served throughout WW1. Seagoe Cemetery, Portadown

+WILLIAMSON, Frederick George
RAFVR. Sergeant (Observer). 751575. Died 26/11/1940 when flying in Hampden I, X3064, 61 Sqdn. Aged 22. The aircraft crashed near Hemswell when returning from a bombing raid on Kiel. Son of James and Jane Eliza Williamson of Belfast. Knockbreda Cemetery. 502 (Ulster) Squadron WM, St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast

1941

+COCHRANE, John
Royal Artillery. Gunner. 1086988. Died 26/11/1941. Aged 21.102 (The Northumberland Hussars) Anti-Tank Regt. Only son of William and Mary Cochrane, of Coleraine. Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery, Egypt

+McNULTY, Daniel Joseph
Royal Ulster Rifles.12th. Btn. Lance Sergeant 3241530. Died 26/11/1941. Age 31. Born in Belfast. Belfast (Milltown) Roman Catholic Cemetery, Belfast

+McNEILL, Thomas
RAFVR. Sergeant. 759285. Died 26/11/1941. 38 Sqdn. Son of Archibald and Elizabeth McNeill, of Belfast. Alamein Memorial, Egypt. 502 (Ulster) Squadron WM, St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast

+MONTGOMERY, William
Royal Artillery. Gunner.1449821. Died 26/11/1941. Aged 26. 6 Indep. Lt. A.A. Regt. Son of Alexander and Elizabeth Montgomery, of Upperlands, Co. Londonderry. Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya

+WILLIAMSON, Frederick George
RAFVR. Sergeant (Observer). 751575. Died 26/11/1940 when flying in Hampden I, X3064, 61 Sqdn. Aged 22. The aircraft crashed near Hemswell when returning from a bombing raid on Kiel. Son of James and Jane Eliza Williamson of Belfast. Knockbreda Cemetery. 502 (Ulster) Squadron WM, St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast

1942

+McAULEY, Hugh
RN. Petty Officer. D/JX 191478. HMS President III. Died 26/11/1942. Age 38. Son of Robert and Agnes McAuley, Carrickfergus. Husband to Ellen McAuley, Carrickfergus. Plymouth Naval Memorial. Panel 63

1945

+BRADLEY, John Patrick
RAFVR. Aircraftman 2nd Class. 2225733. Died 26/11/1945. Aged 22. Son of Frances and Margret Bradley, of Londonderry. Cleethorpes Cemetery, Lincolnshire

VETERAN

THOMSON, Sir William Willis Dalziel
RAMC. Captain. Campbell College. QUB MA 1907, MB 1910, BCh BAO BSc 1913. DPH 1912, MD 1916, FRCP London 1928. Served 1914 – 18. (16 -18 with RAMC Research Lab and No 13 Gen Hospital, Boulogne under Colonel (later Sir) Almroth Wright in an RAMC Research Unit attached to the 13th General Hospital at Bologne. Knighted Jan 1950. Professor of Medicine at QUB for 27 years.

Captain Alexander Fleming was a member of the same unit and the friendship between Fleming and Thomson continued after the war, and Fleming stayed with the Thomsons when he visited Belfast to deliver lectures.

Thomson was educated at Campbell College, before matriculating at Queen’s College, Belfast. As a university undergraduate, he held three separate scholarships – the Dunville Studentship, Senior Scholarship, and Queen’s College Scholarship – but supported himself financially by teaching Botany at the Victoria College (on University Road) and Princess Gardens School (on University Street), where one of his sisters was Headmistress. He joined the Queen’s University Officers’ Training Corps in October 1908, holding the rank of Colour Sergeant when he left the OTC in October 1910. He was also heavily involved in student activities.
He was awarded three first-class honours degrees and was a Gold Medallist when he graduated as a Doctor of Medicine in 1916. He was the Resident Medical Officer at the Belfast Fever Hospital at Purdysburn and Physician and Clinical Pathologist at the Mater Infirmorium 1912 – 1919. At Queen’s University, he was Demonstrator of Physiology (1911) and the Riddell Demonstrator of Pathology (1912 – 1916).

In 1918, WWD Thomson became a Member of the Royal Society of Physicians and, in 1919, he became a Physician at the Royal Victoria Hospital and was subsequently appointed to the Chair of Medicine at Queen’s University in 1923. He had also studied medicine at Dublin, London, Paris, and Budapest and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1928. He represented QUB on the General Medical Council and held the Presidencies of the Northern Ireland Branch of the British Medical Association (1932/33), the Irish Medical Schools’ and Graduates’ Association (1936/37), the Ulster Medical Society (1937/38) and the Association of Physicians of Great Britain and Ireland (1949/50). After the Second World War, when the National Health Service was established, WWD Thomson was a member of the new Northern Ireland Hospital Authority. In 1948, he was made a Deputy Lieutenant for the City of Belfast and, in 1950, he was awarded a Knighthood in the New Year’s Honours List and was appointed as Physician-in-Ordinary to the household of the Governor of Northern Ireland (Vice Admiral William Spencer Leveson-Gower, 4th Earl Granville, KG GCVO CB DSO).
William W. D. Thomson was born in Hillsborough on 08.09/1885 to Dr. William Thomson JP of Annahilt and Elizabeth Thomson (nee Greer). He was the grandson of the Rev. James Thomson (Minister of Magherally Presbyterian Church) and of the Rev. Thomas McGregor Greer (Minister of Annahilt Presbyterian Church).

WWD Thomson had married Josephine Hunter Barron (born, 1887), the daughter
of Humphrey Barron JP (of “Walton”, 6 Fortwilliam Park) in 1914 and they lived at 25 University Square (with a second home, “Seven Tiles”, in Donaghadee). Their only child, Humphrey Barron Thomson MB BCh, was born in 1919 and was married to Mary Graham Thomson. He served as a Captain with the RAMC, attached to the East Surrey Regiment, during the Second World War and was killed, aged 25, on 14/12/1941 during the fall of Singapore. His name is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial.

WWD Thomson is named on Fitzroy Avenue Presbyterian Church WM, in the PCI Roll of Honour and appears on Malone Golf Club RH. Sir William Willis Dalziel Thomson died, aged 65, on 26/11/1950, and is buried in the graveyard at Annahilt Presbyterian Church.

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