Horace Douglas Thompson was born in Camberwell, East London on 23rd April 1898. He was the oldest of four children – and the only boy – to Horace and Elizabeth Thompson. Horace Sr was a grocer’s packer, originally from the village of Gissing in Norfolk.
Details of Horace Jr’s early life are a little sketchy, but it seems that by some point after the 1911 census, both of his parents had died, and he was fostered by his aunt and uncle – Charlotte and Robert Thompson – who lives in Leytonstone. By this point, he was working as a doctor’s errand boy.
When war broke out, Horace was keen to play his part. He enlisted in the 6th Battalion of the London Regiment – also known as the City of London Rifles – towards the end of 1916. It is unclear whether Rifleman Thompson saw any action overseas, but in April 1917 he was admitted to the Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital in Newton Abbot, Devon, suffering from acute gastritis, or appendicitis.
Sadly, Rifleman Horace Douglas Thompson was to succumb to the condition – he passed away at the hospital on 16th April 1917. He was laid to rest in Newton Abbot Cemetery; he was days short of his 19th birthday.