Harrison (Harry) Thompson MM
Corporal H Thompson MM
Extracts from The Second Derbyshire Yeomanry An account of the Regiment during the World War 1939-45 by Captain A J Jones MBE.
On 16th June, the enemy attacked Escoville and Herouvillette, at first light, and two troops of “C” Squadron had a running fight in the first named village.
The enemy were supported by tanks and what looked liked a determined attack was finally sealed off, thanks largely to the coolness of the troop leaders in directing the fire of our supporting artillery and mortars.
The squadron then formed a box in Escoville and were relieved that evening by “B” Squadron, whose orders were to hold the village at all costs.
During the night 16th-17th June, “B” Squadron had a bad time in Escoville. A strong petrol was sent out, dismounted, into the enemy lines, in order to secure identifications.
This patrol, under Second Lieutenant Porter, got as far a Cuverville before encountering the enemy. At the northern end of the village, the enemy opened fire with small arms and spandaus, and soon a small scale battle was raging. Mortar flares were put down by the enemy, and after a further exchange of fire, the patrol withdrew with four men unaccounted for.
Just before midnight, “B” Squadron reported that the four men missing from their patrol, in the early hours of the morning, had rejoined the squadron, having been guided through the enemy lines by Corporal Thompson-a very gallant effort indeed.
[Sadly just as the four rejoined “B” Squadron one of their number, Lance Corporal Williams, was killed by a mortar bomb.]
[For his fine powers of leadership in bringing his men safely home and very great courage during the twenty hours he spent in the enemy area Corporal Thompson was subsequently presented by Field Marshall Montgomery with the Military Medal.]
Information regarding Corporal Harrison (Harry) Thompson MM
“B” Squadron 2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry
Provided by his daughter Mrs Linda Darling
Harry was born on 4th October 1919 in Shiremoor, Northumberland.
Shiremoor was a pit village, and the men were all miners. My father went down the pit at 14, as had his father, grandfather, uncles and brothers.
In order to escape the pit he enlisted in the army. It was pre outbreak of 2WW, I’m not sure precisely when, but he told me he was actually too young to join up (probably 17).
I’ve found difficulty in tracing him in forces war records at this time. I know he was in the Household Cavalry pre war (I have a picture of him wearing his dress uniform, and he talked about once being in the sovereign’s escort).
During 2WW he was in Egypt, also France. I’m not sure what regiments, although I think he spoke of being in the Highland Light Infantry. Obviously, by 1944 he was in the 2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry.
After the war he had a lot of trouble adjusting to civilian life.
He had married my mother in 1941 and they settled (eventually) in South Essex. He worked on the brickfields, spent time out of work, and then did a carpentry training course and became a carpenter and joiner. In later years he and his partner started their own small building company.
When he was 71 he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and he died of it in August 1994.