The Thompson Family

Cornelius Thompson

Birth: 1843, in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Father: George Thompson

Mother: Christiana Little (Kidd) Thompson

Education: Marischal College and University of Aberdeen

Married (1st): Grace Frost on 21 December 1865, in Old Machar, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Children:
Married (2nd): Agnes Marion Williamson on 12 July 1870, in Old Machar, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Children:
Occupation: Ship owner and designer
Cornelius was a member of the company founded by his father, Messrs. George Thompson and Co, sailing ship owners who commissioned three steamers, the Aberdeen, the Australasian and the Damascus, which were all successful in the Australian trade. The company later became the Aberdeen White Star Line.
Marine engineer and naval architect 1 May 1890 p76
  Mr Cornelius Thompson, of the firm of Messrs. George Thompson & Co., London, sailing ship owners, at last consulted with Dr. Kirk and Mr. Parker as to the advisability of having the triple-expansion engine in their first steamer, and ultimately Dr. Kirk's firm (Messrs. R. Napier & Sons) were favoured with the order to build the now well known steamer Aberdeen, which gave so much satisfaction that soon two others were built, viz., the Australasian and Damascus, and I consider great praise is due to Mr. Cornelius Thompson for the confidence reposed in these gentlemen. contributing so materially to the advancement and development of the marine engine. Of course it is useless for me to say that from the time the Aberdeen's results became known the triple-expansion principle became general.

Notes: Cornelius was an enthusiastic golfer, winning the Aberdeen Golf Club tournament in 1874.
The country 1 October 1874 p295
Aberdeen.- The annual autumn tournament of the Aberdeen Golf Club came off week, and extended over three days. ... Two rounds or thirty holes were played, and Mr. Cornelius Thompson, Aberdeen, gained the cup with a total of 162 - 84 in the first round and 78 in the second.

Death: 18 January 1894, at sea, aboard the Damascus, two days out from London bound for Australia.
The Sydney Morning Herald 5 March 1894 p6
      THE DAMASCUS.
  This Aberdeen liner is coming round the coast at a good speed. She reported off Green Cape at 5.30 n m. yesterday and is due here about midday to-day. The steamer has made a good run from England, traversing 11,185 miles in 41 days 9 hours 11 minutes, giving a daily average of 285.5 miles, equal to 11.9 knots an hour. A report from Melbourne says :—-Captain Alexander Douglas still has command, and reports that the voyage was commenced at Lon- don on 16th January. Moderate southerly winds and wet weather were experienced in the English Channel, Ushant being passed on the 17th. On the evening of the 18th Mr. Cornelius Thompson, one of the members of the firm of Messrs. George Thompson and Co, died at sea. The anchors were dropped at Teneriffe on tho 22nd. The time occupied in traversing the 1636 miles intervening between the Royal Albert Docks and Teneriffe was six days one hour six minutes. The voyage was resumed shortly before midnight of the 22nd.. The equator was crossed in 9° W. on the 29th. and she reached Cape Town on 8th February. The run between Teneriffe and Cape Town was made in 16 days five hours 48 minutes, the distance steamed over being 4466 miles. The Aberdeen got out of Table Bay at 5 p.m. the same afternoon. The meridian of Cape Leuwin was crossed on the 23rd, Cape Otway sighted at midnight on Tuesday, and the Heads entered at 5.15 a.m. 2nd .March. The deck officers this trip are Mr. A. Walker (vice Mr. Wm. Custard, deceased, Mr. D. Piggie (second), Mr. J. Paterson (third), and Mr. H. Porter (fourth), with Mr. A. C. Riddle directing affairs in the engine department. Mr. T. Willoughby, for many years favourably known as purser on the passenger ship Sobraon, has control of the commissariat department. The Damascus had 15 saloon and 37 steerage passengers, and a full cargo for Melbourne and Sydney.


Southland Times 6 February 1894 p2
  Mr Cornelius Thompson, of the Aberdeen White Star line, had a practical acquaintance with shipbuilding, and served an apprenticeship on the Clyde at the building yard of Messrs John Elder and Co. Amongst the first vessels designed by Mr. Thompson for the firm of George Thompson, junr., and Co., with which he was connected, were the Christiana Thompson, Jerusalem, and Centurian. He also designed the clipper Thermopylę, which was built to beat anything of her class and tonnage afloat, and which held her own against the world in Australian and China voyaging. The ships Patriarch, Miltiades, Aristides, Salamis, Samuel Plimsoll, Sophocles, Orontes, Pericles, Aviemore, and Thyatira were also the products of his skill in draughting, and so successful were these clippers in the Australian trade that they established a name for themselves, of which not even the keenest competition has been able to deprive them. Mr Thompson visited the colonies some seven years ago. Mr George Thompson, the founder of the firn, and who survives his son Cornelius, is 94 years of age.


Will: proved 12 April 1894, by George Thompson Henderson, Stephen Thompson, William Parker, and Thomas Fergusson, the executors.

Census & Addresses:
1871: 17 Albyn Place, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire   (Aberdeen Post Office Directory 1871-2 p223)
1876: 17 Albyn Place, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire   (Accounts and papers of the House of Commons 1877 p13)
1881: 33 St James's Place, Westminster, Middlesex
1894: 24 Leadenhall Street, London and 17 Seymour Street, Portman Square, London   (London Gazette 19 June 1894 p3535)

Sources:

Frank Thompson

Birth: 1876

Father: Cornelius Thompson

Mother: Agnes Marion (Williamson) Thompson

Death: 1876

Sources:

George Keith Thompson

Birth: 7 July 1871, in St Nicholas, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Father: Cornelius Thompson

Mother: Agnes Marion (Williamson) Thompson

Death: 1879

Sources:

Harold George Thompson

Birth: 1881

Father: Cornelius Thompson

Mother: Agnes Marion (Williamson) Thompson

Death: 1886

Sources:
Muriel Annie Thompson
Muriel Annie Thompson.
The medal worn is the Knight's Cross of the Order of Leopold II.
Muriel Thompson with Red Cross Ambulance and Belgians on road near La Paune
Muriel Thompson with Red Cross Ambulance and Belgians on road near La Paune, Belgium during World War I.
"Thompson & Belgians at La Paune" marked in pen beneath photograph
image from FANY Archive

Muriel Annie Thompson

Birth: 10 June 1875, at 17 Albyn Place, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Father: Cornelius Thompson

Mother: Agnes Marion (Williamson) Thompson

Education: Blackheath High School and Hacking College, North London

Occupation: Driver
Muriel was the chauffeur for the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), a suffragette organization, in 1909.
The women's suffrage movement: a reference guide p97 (Elizabeth Crawford, 2001)
In April 1909 the WSPU presented Mrs PETHICK-LAWRENCE on her release from prison with a new car, registration "W.S. 95". It was an Austin, painted and upholstered in the colours, with white wheels and a green body lined with a narrow purple stripe. mrs. Pethick-Lawrence dedicated the car to the general use of the WSPU and it was often used to take Mrs PANKHURST on her country-wide tours, driven by the WSPU chauffeur, at first Muriel Thompson, later succeeded by Vera HOLME.

Muriel served in the First World War as an ambulance driver and member of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry.

Muriel Thompson joined the FANY as a driver in January 1915. On 8 February she crossed to Calais to a Belgian military hospital called Lamarck which the corps was running. Their services having been refused by the British authorities, they drove ambulances and ran hospitals and casualty clearing stations for the Belgian and French armies all along the western front. On 29 March she was personally decorated by King Albert with the Kinght's Cross of the Order of Leopold II for evacuating wounded Belgian soldiers under fire near Dixmude.
The Argus 20 May 1915 p3 (Melbourne, Victoria)
THREE BRAVE NURSES.
  King Albert Honours.
The King of the Belgians has presented the Order of Leopold II. to three nurses of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry Corps for bravery under shell fire in rescuing some wounded men from the trenches. The names of the recipients, says the "Daily Mail's" correspondent in the north of France are Miss Muriel Thompson, Sister Mary White, Miss Margaret Waite. The three nurses had gone up us far as the rear line of trenches not far from Oostkerke, when an officer asked them if they would like to go to the first line. They readily assented.
  As heavy firing was going on at the time, great care had to be taken in advancing from one trench to another. They had to go one at a time at two-minute īntervals with instructions to lie flat on the ground if any shots came their way. In a little while they reached an outpost, which consisted of a few cottages huddled close together. As soon as they reached it, however, the Germans started shelling the place vigorously, and several men were killed and wounded.
  The officer who had asked them to come up held up his hand, saying it was too dangerous to come any farther, and they must go back to safety. They refused to listen to his advice, however until they had attended to some of the wounded who were near them. They then found a stretcher, and, with the aid of a man, they carried two back to safety under heavy fire, and while under shelter dresscd their wounds, and took them back to a temporary hospital.
  I saw Miss Thompson to-day wearing her medal for the first time. She was very proud of the fact that the King had pinned it on her himself, and had shaken hands with her. In a short speech the King paid high tribute to the heroic work which is being performed daily by Englishwomen in Belgium.


On 1 January 1916, British army resistance to the women was finally overcome and the members of FANY Calais convoy became the first women to drive officially for the British army. Muriel served as second in command to Lilian Franklin on the Calais convoy, and was mentioned in dispatches on 9 April 1917. On 1 January 1918 she was appointed officer commanding of a new joint FANY-VAD (voluntary aid detachment) convoy based at St Omer near the front line. The St Omer convoy became officially part of the Second Army on 4 May. During the German spring counter-offensive in 1918 the St Omer convoy worked day and night under heavy bombardment evacuating the dead and wounded. On 18 May they were called out following a bombing raid on Arques, including one on an ammunition dump. A second raid came over and, with shells exploding all around, they were ordered to take cover. The women worked on regardless, moving the injured to safety for which Muriel was decorated with the Military Medal on 30 July 1918.
London Gazette 26 July 1918 p9000
His Majesty the KING has been pleased to approve of the award of the Military Medal to the undermentioned Ladies for distinguished services in the Field as recorded:—
...
Miss Muriel Thompson, F.A.N.Y.
...
For conspicuous devotion to duty during an hostile air raid. All these lady drivers were out with their cars during the raid, picking up and in every way assisting the wounded and injured. They showed great bravery and coolness, and were an example to all ranks.

Muriel also received the Croix de Guerre. Her medals were subsequently given to the National Army Museum. Muriel kept a diary during the war and later wrote a series a recollections in the diary entitled "Base Notes", recreating the atmosphere of her experience rather than specific events in a style that has been described as a precursor to modernist. Excerpts from Muriel's diary and many more details of her work during the War can be found in War girls: the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry in the First World War (Janet Lee, 2005) and excerpts from Base Notes deatiling their literary value are found in The second battlefield: women, modernism and the First World War (Angela K. Smith, 2000). The diary is held in the Liddle collection at the University of Leeds.

Muriel returned to England on 2 September 1918. After a month’s recuperation, she joined the Women’s Royal Air Force as a recruiting officer. Administrator Thompson was given the temporary appointment of Deputy Assistant Commandant in the Women's Royal Air Force on 1 February 1919 (London Gazette 20 May 1919 p6253), and then Assistant Commandant on 21 March 1919 (London Gazette 22 July 1919 p9259). She was demobilized on 1 October 1919. Muriel resigned from the FANY in 1922 in a policy disagreement over the corps’ post-war role.

Notes: Muriel was also a driver for sport, taking part in races and "motor gymkhanas".
The Motor car journal 31 August 1907 p582
  SIR GILBERT and Laly Clayton-East were at home to members of the Berkshire Automobile Club, at Hall Place, near Maidenhead, on Saturday.
  Four of the events in a motor gymkhana, which was the principal part of the afternoon's programme resulted as under:-
...
Blindfold Driving.-Winner, Miss Muriel Thompson (25 h.p. Austin); second, Major Portal; third, Dr. Norman H. Joy (6 h.p. Siddeley).
  This latter test of skill gave rise to much amusement. Each competitor was started alone, at a distance of 75 yards from the finishing flag, with the back of the car towards that flag, and the results were most ludicrous in some cases. Nearly every competitor lost the sense of direction or length, some driving entirely off the gymkhana ground, and others stopping before they had gone 20 yards, in the belief they were at the finish. Miss Thompson came to rest at a point only 39ft. from the post in 25 sec.


Miss Muriel Thompson Winning the Ladies Bracelet Handicap at Brooklands
"Miss Muriel Thompson Winning the Ladies Bracelet Handicap at Brooklands."
Hand colored engraving from the Illustrated London News reprinted at Prints Old and Rare
Muriel was involved in the foundation of the Brooklands Automobile Racing Club, and on 4 July 1908 she won the Ladies Bracelet Handicap at Brooklands, the first race held there for women drivers. Muriel was driving her brother Oscar’s Austin racing car, nicknamed Pobble. Muriel reached speeds of 60 m.p.h. over the three mile track.
Clarence and Richmond Examiner 8 September 1908 p3 (Grafton, New South Wales)
          Lady Motorists' Race.
      SIXTY MILES AN HOUR.
Society women drove racing motor cars at sixty miles an hour round the Brooklands track on 4th July.
The race was the Ladies' Bracelet Handicap, the first contest for women motorists run at Brooklands, and it was won, after a thrilling struggle, by Miss Muriel Thompson by two lengths from Mrs. Locke-King, the wife of the owner of Brooklands. Five ladies started in the race. Seven had entered, but at the last moment Lady Muriel Gore-Browne and Mrs. Ada Billing withdrew.
  Each of the lady drivers wore a distinctive coloured silk motor scarf tied in a bow behind her neck. The colours were white, purple, pale blue, pink and yellow. They wore these in place of the jockey like coats and caps of the men motorists. All disdained motor goggles as "far too hideous," and they laughed at all suggestion of danger.
  Miss Christabel Ellis, with a true feminine touch, had trimmed the "bonnet" of her racer with bunches of cornflowers and sweet peas. Her car, the Guarded Flame, struck quite a feminine note.
  The styles of the various lady drivers were striking. Two of them sat upright as at a piano, while Miss Muriel Thompson, tho winner, bent forward over the wheel like an American jockey.
  Miss Ellis lay almost full length on a sofa, with her toes within reach of the regulating pedals and hands ready for the brakes. The style she adopted is popular among racing motorists.
The distance was about three miles round the pudding basin sides of the Brooklands track, and all the way Mrs. Locke-King and Miss Thompson fought for the first pince. Mrs. Locke-King, however, could not regain the three seconds start which her rival had, and Miss Thompson shot over tho winning line 20 feet ahead.
Enthusiastic crowds surrounded the winner as she gilded back to the paddock, and one with suffragist sympathies cried. "Women deserve the vote now !"

The Sydney Morning Herald 6 September 1911 p9
CYCLING AND MOTORING.
  According to the "Autocar" of August 5, the gala day of the Royal Automobile Club and its associated clubs at Brooklands was a great success. It was really what we in Australia would term a motor gymkhana, excepting that we are limited in this respect we have not a track like the Brooklands (England) in Australia to arrange such a versatile and instructive programme, which included a hill climb, relay race, obstacle race and hill climb combined, all-comers' open handicap, skilful driving race, declaration handicap race, and a blindfold driving competiton. The conditions were clearly set out, and the various competitions were keenly watched by a large number of enthusiastic motorists and the sport-loving public. An item worthy of mention is that two of the events—the Declaration Handicap and the blindfold driving competiton—-wore won by a lady driver, Miss Muriel Thompson, who, according to the report, did quite 100 per cent. better than any other competitor.


Death: 3 March 1939, at 30 The Grove, Boltons, Kensington, London, England, of encephalitis lethargica, an epidemic form of inflammation of the brain

Buried: Brompton cemetery, London, England

Census:
1891: Greenwich, London: Muriel A. Thompson, daughter, is aged 15, born in Scotland
1901: Bournemouth, Hampshire: Muriel A. Thompson, visitor, is aged 23, born in Aberdeen, Scotland

Biography: published at Driver Scrapbooks
Muriel Annie Thompson was a volunteer ambulance driver and member of the FANY. She was born at 17 Albyn Place, Aberdeen, the fifth of the eight children of Cornelius Thompson shipowner and marine architect, and the only daughter of his second marriage, to Agnes Marion Williamson. Her grandfather was George Thompson junior, laird of Pitmeddon, deputy lieutenant of Aberdeenshire, provost of Aberdeen, member of parliament for Aberdeen, and founder of the George Thompson Shipping Company, later the Aberdeen White Star Line. She was educated at Blackheath high school and Hacking College, north London. After the death of her father she lived with her mother at 48 Queensgate, London. Muriel and her two full brothers, Walter and Oscar, were early and keen motor vehicle drivers. They were involved in the foundation of the Brooklands Automobile Racing Club, and on 4 July 1908 Muriel Thompson won the Ladies Bracelet Handicap at Brooklands, the first race held there for women drivers. She was driving Oscar’s Austin racing car, nicknamed Pobble. Her speed over 3 miles was 50 m.p.h.
At the outbreak of the First World War Oscar joined one of the several volunteer ambulance convoys raised to help the French, taking Pobble, splendidly converted into an ambulance, with him. Women were not welcomed so Thompson turned to the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry corps (FANY). This was founded in 1907 by a former cavalry sergeant-major, Edward Baker, as an all-female mounted ambulance unit. By 1914 the FANY had moved to mechanized transport and on 27 October 1914 was the first women’s organization to go to France. Their services having been firmly refused by the British authorities, they drove ambulances and ran hospitals and casualty clearing stations for the Belgian and French armies all along the western front. On 1 January 1916 British resistance was finally overcome and the members of FANY Calais convoy became the first women to drive officially for the British army.
Thompson joined the FANY as a driver in January 1915. On 8 February she crossed to Calais to a Belgian military hospital called Lamarck which the corps was running. On 29 March she was personally decorated by King Albert with the chevalier of the order of Leopold II for evacuating wounded Belgian soldiers under fire near Dixmude. She served as second in command to Lilian Franklin on the Calais convoy, and was mentioned in dispatches on 9 April 1917. On 1 January 1918 she was appointed officer commanding of a new joint FANY-VAD (voluntary aid detachment) convoy based at St Omer near the front line. The St Omer convoy became officially part of the Second Army on 4 May, choosing a perky-looking red fish as its official insignia in memory of the surgeon-general’s description of the corps in 1915, then in battle with British officialdom, as ‘neither fish, flesh nor fowl … but damned good red herrings’.
During the prolonged German spring counter-offensive in 1918 the St Omer convoy worked day and night under heavy bombardment evacuating the dead and wounded. On 18 May they were called out following a bombing raid on Arques, including one on an ammunition dump. A second raid came over and, with shells exploding all around, they were ordered to take cover. The women worked on regardless, moving the injured to safety. For their coolness and courage under fire they were awarded a total of sixteen military medals and three Croix de Guerre. According to an unpublished memoir by Beryl Hutchinson, all the decorations were questioned, as there were too many for such a small unit; but each one was so strongly supported by the British and French officers on the scene that all were allowed. Muriel Thompson was decorated with her Military Medal in the field by the general officer commanding, Second Army, General Sir Herbert Plumer, and with her Croix de Guerre in the main square of St Omer by General de la Guiche. Her medals were subsequently given to the National Army Museum.
Muriel Thompson was a tall, dark-haired woman as evidenced by the photograph showing her towering over General de la Guiche as she received her medal. Handsome rather than beautiful, other photographs capture her looking out of the many cars she drove over the years, Pobble the Austin racing car, Flossie the Ford ambulance, and Kangaroo, her own Cadillac. Badly affected by the death at Passchendaele in 1917 of her nephew Logie Colin Leggatt, a lieutenant in the Coldstream Guards, and exhausted after nearly four years of continuous service, she returned to England on 2 September 1918. After a month’s recuperation, she joined the Women’s Royal Air Force as a recruiting officer. She was demobilized on 1 October 1919. She resigned from the FANY in 1922 in a policy disagreement over the corps’ post-war role. Muriel Thompson, who never married, spent the next two decades at her London home, 30 The Grove, Boltons, Kensington, where she died on 3 March 1939 of encephalitis lethargica, an epidemic form of inflammation of the brain, of which there were several outbreaks between the wars. She was buried in Brompton cemetery, London.


Sources:

Oscar Stephen Thompson

Birth: 1877, in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Father: Cornelius Thompson

Mother: Agnes Marion (Williamson) Thompson

Education: Tonbridge School, Tonbridge, Kent
The register of Tonbridge School, from 1820 to 1893 p274
*THOMPSON, Oscar Stephen. 1892 - .  Younger son of Cornelius Thompson.   b. 1877


Occupation: Shipowner
Oscar continued the shi[powning business founded by his grandfather, and continued by his father.
The Argus 25 November 1933 p20
Geo. Thompson and Co. Ltd., merchants, shipbuilders, shipbrokers, &c. Head office, 34 Leadenhall street, London. Agent in Victoria, John Thomas Brennan, 447 Collins street, Melbourne. Capital £1,000, in £1 shares. Directors are - Oscar Stephen Thompson, John Macmillan, Basil Sanderson, Walter Henry Savill, and Sir Norman Alexander Leslie.


Notes: Oscar was well known in the automobile world for his interest in racing, his car "Pobble" being a well-known feature on the Brooklands Track. During the War he fitted up the car as an ambulance and drove it himself in France under the French Red Cross.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution of Automobile Engineers in 1911.

Death: 26 July 1937, in Kensington district, London, England, aged 59
The Mercury 29 July 1937 p11 (Hobart, Tasmania)
       MR. OSCAR THOMPSON
    Prominent Shipping Magnate
                MELBOURNE, July 28.
  One of the best known houseflags in the history of Australian shipping was lowered to half-mast yesterday above the office of the Aberdeen and Commonwealth Line, when news was received of the death in London of Mr. Oscar Thompson, a grandson of the late Mr. George Thompson, who founded the company more than 100 years ago.
  From the early days of colonisation in Victoria, the Aberdeen Line played an important part in the history and development of the State, and the traditions are still carried on in the green-hulled "Bay" steamers of the Aberdeen and Commonwealth Line.


The Sydney Morning Herald 29 July 1937 p10
    SHIPOWNER'S DEATH.
               LONDON, July 28.
  The death has occurred of Mr. Oscar Thompson, a grandson of the founder of the Aberdeen Line, He was well-known in the Australian shipping trade.
  Mr. Thompson visited Sydney in 1927 in connection with migration, of which he was an ardent supporter. He came to Australia again in 1929 to represent the Aberdeen and Commonwealth Line at the shipping freight conference held that year.


Census:
1891: Greenwich, London: Oscar S. Thompson, son, is aged 13, born in Scotland
1901: St Marylebone, London: Oscar Thompson, son, is aged 23, born in Aberdeen. Occupation: Shipowner

Sources:

Walter Hood Thompson

Birth: 6 April 1873

Father: Cornelius Thompson

Mother: Agnes Marion (Williamson) Thompson

Notes: Walter was a chess enthusiast especially in the composition and solution of chess problems for magazines. He published A list of books containing chess problems in 1908, and contributed to C̆eské melodie: eine sammlung von 202 schachaufgaben by Josef Pospķšil also published in 1908. Walter played in a memorable chess game against Daniėl Noteboom in Ramsgate in 1929, which is often used as a demonstration of the classical variation of the Sicilian defence. Walter, playing white, was routed by Noteboom.

Death: 1938

Sources:
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