Lieutenant Sidney Thompson R.A.F.

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Medal group of Lieutenant Sidney Thompson R.A.F.

Lieutenant Sidney Thompson R.A.F.

Lt Sidney Thompson was from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear the son of Thomas and Janet Thompson of 157, Prince Consort Road, Gateshead.

He was a pilot with 27 Squadron Royal Air Force operating out of Clairmares.

The memorial plaque of Lieutenant Sidney Thompson R.A.F.
On August 21st 1917 27 Squadron lost three more pilots in a sprawling dogfight which took place just east of Seclin.

Engaged by a mixed bunch of Albatross scouts, captain G. K. Smith and 2/Lt D. P. Cox were both shot down and killed.

2/Lt S. Thompson was attacked by Offstvtr. Max Muller of Jasta 28 and the German's superior fighting experience soon damaged his aircraft by being hit in the tanks and engine.

Photo of Muller standing by Thompson's downed plane.
Thompson was forced down and his aircraft (Martinsyde 7276) became Muller's evidence for his claimed twenty-sixth victory.

The picture to the left shows Muller standing by the downed "Elephant".

The reason for the nickname (Elephant) is obscure, the most likely story is that it came from the factory itself. There the sheer size of the aircraft necessitated the use of Double Elephant size sheets of paper for the various component drawings used during construction. Another, more colouful, version was from an NCO who on seeing his first Martinsyde remarked that she looked like a "pregnant elephant waiting to pounce".

Matchcase of Sidney Thompson R.A.F.
Thompson was taken Prisoner of War at Billy near La Bassee.
He was repatriated and arrived back in England on 14th December 1918.

Shortly after arriving in England he was admitted to hospital where he died on 26th January 1919 aged 21 years.

The matchcase, shown on the right is made of EPNS and was a personal item engraved with his initials, ST.

Scroll to Sidney Thompson R.A.F.
He is remembered with honour at Gateshead East Cemetery, Durham.

Everyone who was entitled after their death got a memorial plaque and scroll. After 80 years the bronze plaque will survive but the paper scroll would have been usually thrown away or lost.  This one is now safe in my collection.