Furness yacht racer whose luck ran out as a trench fighter

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2 October 2017 5:14PM

A shipyard worker and Barrow yacht racer somehow managed to have his obvious skills ignored by the Royal Navy and was killed a century ago fighting with the King's Royal Rifle Corps.

The death of Charles Thomson was announced in the Barrow News on September 15 in 1917 but he had been killed a month earlier.

His burial place was lost during the chaos of battle and he is named on the Menin Gate at Ypres in Belgium, his date of death being recorded by the military authorities as August 14.

He was the son of Archibald and Jessie Thomson and had enlisted for military duty in September 1914.

Sapper Thomson, of 49 Victoria Terrace, Barrow, was army number R/ 37496 and served first with the 153 rd Field Company of the Royal Field Artillery and later with the Rifle Corps.

The Mail noted: "Having been out in France for 14 months, he was invalided home to England as a result of being buried during a mine explosion in Deville Wood."

He recovered from these wounds but his luck was not to last much longer.

An officer wrote to his parents: "His death was instantaneous and he was buried where he fell."

The paper noted: "He was especially well known on the Channel by all yachtsmen.

"Spr Thomson, prior to the war owned two yachts and in regattas was a prominent figure and always managed to take a good lead in the sport.

"Previous to volunteering his services for his country, Spr Thomson was employed by Vickers as a plater."

The same edition of The Mail recorded the death of Barrow-born officer Lt J. Kenneth Hunter, aged 26, of the 427 th East Lancashire Field Company of the Royal Engineers.

He had died on September 6 in 1917 and is named on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

The paper said: "He was a prominent player of the Leigh Cricket Club, being a good forcing bat."

His parents, Major Tom and Eleanor Hunter, lived at Leesrigg, Beach Walk, Leigh in Lancashire.

Major Hunter had worked in the borough surveyors officer at Barrow Town Hall for many years and had moved to somewhere in "the North of England" to be the commandant of a prisoner-of-war camp.

It took almost a month for news to reach Lowick Green of the death in action of Pte Tom Lindow.

The Mail on August 25 in 1917 noted: "Pte Lindow was in a machine gun company and, aas far as can be ascertained, while sheltering in shell holes from German snipers, he was shot."

Pte Lindow was aged 27 and died on July 31 in 1917 serving as army number 44893 in infantry support with the 73 rd Company of the Machine Gun Corps.

He has no known grave and is named on the Menin Gate at Ypres.

He was the son of Mary Augusta Coward (formerly Lindow), of Rose Cottage, Lowick Green.

The Mail noted: "This is the second son Mrs Coward has lost in the war and much sympathy is felt for her."

An Allithwaite family received ever more depression news of Thomas Akister as the lance corporal was first "wounded", then "missing" and finally "killed".

His death was recorded in The Mail's September 15 edition in 1917, although official records eventually gave his death as being on July 31 - although earlier given as July 27.

The 20-year-old served with the 1/ 4 th Battalion of the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment and is buried at Potijze Chateau Grounds Cemetery.

He was the son of Thomas Akister, of Beckside, Allithwate, near Grange.

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