John Stanton Thorns Thompson
|John Stanton Thorns Thompson|
16 May 1915 (aged 19)|
3rd Northern General Hospital, Sheffield
|Cause of death||Gunshot to the head|
|Resting place||Holy Trinity Church, Boston|
|Education||Mrs Bazlinton’s Preparatory School, Boston Grammar School (1905-08), Manchester Grammar School|
|Employer||1st/4th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment|
John Stanton Thorns Thompson was born in Boston in 1895. His family were millers. His grandfather had the Opmus Flour Mill in Spilsby Road where he lived with his parents at number 43.
John attended Mrs Bazlinton’s Preparatory School until he was 9. Then, in January 1905, he entered Boston Grammar School but stayed there for only 3 years. In April 1908 he transferred to Manchester Grammar School when the family moved to Manchester where his father became manager of the Hovis Mills. On leaving school John also initially joined Hovis Mills.
Young John returned to Boston in 1913 and joined the Boston Territorials. He was at military camp in Bridlington when war broke out in August 1914 and with his unit, C Company, was sent to Luton for training for war.
At that early stage in the war conscription had not been introduced. Before young men under 21 years of age (as was John) could be sent to fight overseas it was necessary to have the permission of a parent. John had volunteered for service abroad and the letter he wrote to his father to obtain his permission to go tells us vividly of his feelings and those of thousands of other young men like him who wished to risk all in defence of their country.
...24/25 August 1914.
Dear Father... I am writing very seriously to beg you to let me go abroad with our battalion. Capt. Staniland and Lieuts. Marris and Beaulah are all going.
I must say that I am exactly the same opinion as Capt Staniland; namely that it is the whole duty of every British man who has no ties of any kind to go abroad, and to do his best. At least (seven eighths) of our company are all going without any hesitation at all; and surely if their people can afford to spare them (although as I know, not without many painful heart-wrenches) then I do not think that I should be compelled to stop at home absolutely against my wish. I know all that are not going are, for the greatest part, fellows who simply joined up so that they could walk about in the streets in uniform. You should have heard the row they kicked up when they were ordered to mobilize. There are others who are going to stay in England because they have wives or mothers who are wholly dependent up on them for support and who cannot conscientiously go.
Anyway what I ask you to do is this:- Please allow me to go and do my part. If you say there is a possibility of my meeting with some accident, well, what if I did? Nobody can possibly die more than once, and it is far better to die fighting honourably than to die an ordinary every-day death.
I think you know my feelings now. Now I beg of you to make yours the same. The Captain must know by Thursday morning, so I beg of you to send me a telegram tomorrow certain what time to ring you, and where to telephone to, mill or house.
I remain dearest father, anxiously, ever your devoted son, Stanton.
His father must have given permission because it was not long before he went to France with the 1st/4th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, and on into Belgium and the battle zone.
In May 1915 he was shot in the head while carrying wounded on stretchers from the trenches. John was so severely wounded he was brought back to England and to the 3rd Northern General Hospital in Sheffield. The bullet was removed in a tricky operation but John did not recover and died a few days later on 16 May 1915. His body was returned to Boston and he was buried on 20 May in Holy Trinity Churchyard. He is commemorated on a memorial in the church and also on the BGS war memorial.
Captain Meaburn Staniland whom Stanton Thompson obviously respected was himself killed in action ten weeks later.