Serial No. 1191
Richard Thompson - Information
Richard Thompson had a very sad upbringing. His father, Thomas Thompson, who was a railway inspector, had died when he and his siblings were very young. The family loosing all income, his mother, Emily, became a drunkard and was forced into prostitution. However, she could not support herself or the children and was deemed destitute. As a result, her six children became wards of the state. It was likely that Richard then came to the Campbelltown area, where many children were placed with willing rural families and taken care of with a carer's allowance. In The Campbelltown Herald newspaper, Richard was listed as a local man serving during the war in the military. While working as a labourer, Richard watched many of his mates enlist. Following their example, he signed up at Rose Hill on the 19th of October 1914, aged 21. During training, Richard was allocated to the 1st Reinforcements, 2nd Battalion as a Private. He then embarked Melbourne onboard the HMAT Themistocles on the 22nd of December 1914.
Richard arrived in Egypt, and was shipped out from Alexandria towards Gallipoli for the landings on the 25th of April 1915. Unable to extend form the coast, the Allies were forced to dig in. With the Turks determined to push the invaders back, the Anzacs were in for a myriad of tough counter-attacks. On the 28th of June, Richard received a bullet wound to his head. He was rushed to the Casualty Clearing Station on the Greek Island of Lemnos, a long and agonizing five hour voyage from Anzac Cove. There, he later died from his wound. His body was sent back to the Gallipoli Peninsula and buried in the Beach Cemetery, where he rests in peace today. Filing their paperwork, the army was unable to locate Richard's mother. They did, however, find his sister Mrs Amy Emmerson whom informed them about his childhood circumstances. Amy and her five brothers had been separated when they were young, but she was able to keep tabs on them. Remarkably, her five brothers, Richard, George, Stephen Joseph, John and Frederick, and her husband, had all enlisted in the AIF. The army graciously sent Amy, Richard's war medals so his memory and war service could be honoured.