Harold Thompstone, Private M/295675, 16th G.H.Q., Reserve Mechanical Transport Coy. Army Service Corps
Died of influenza 12th November 1918 in Etaples, France, aged 38
Harold Thompstone was born on 16 August and baptised at Gawswirth Church on 14 September 1879, the eldest son of Jane and Isaac Thompstone, a farmer. In 1891 eleven-year-old Harold was living at High Birch, Gawsworth with his parents and siblings Erwin (9), Ashlen (7) and Marshal (5).
By 1901, the family had moved to 63 Bridge Street and included another child, five-year-old Grace, and Harold’s father had died. Harold assisted his widowed mother in the family business as a miller and corn dealer.
On 11 August 1909 Harold married Frances Evelyn Earlam at Brunswick Wesleyan Methodist Church, and the couple lived at Rose Bank, 305 Buxton Road, Macclesfield. In 1911 Harold’s younger sister Grace was living with them, and Harold was employed as a manager at his father-in-law’s grocery store in Queen Victoria Street, Macclesfield.
A daughter, Ivy, was born in 1917.
Harold enlisted in February 1917, joining the Army Service Corps Motor Transport section with service number M/295675. Private Thompstone was examined as a lorry driver and found to be of a ‘Good’ standard. He was drafted to France in May 1918.
It is not known when Private Thompstone was admitted to the 7th Canadian General Hospital, Etaples, suffering from influenza, but he developed pneumonia and died on 12 November 1918. His death was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 22 November 1918:
PTE HAROLD THOMPSTONE, A.S.C. (M.T.), died in hospital in France from pneumonia following influenza on November 12th. His wife, who resides with her only child at Rose Bank, Buxton Road, Macclesfield, received news that he was ill in hospital on November 11th. Another letter was received on Thursday stating that he was progressing, but this was followed on Friday by a wire that he was dangerously ill, and the sad intimation of his death came on Saturday. Pte Thompstone, who was 38 years of age, was the son-in-law of Mr James Earlam, Queen Victoria Street, of whose business, prior to enlistment, he was the manager. He was the eldest son of the late Mr and Mrs Isaac Thompstone, Prestbury Corn Mills. Enlisting nearly two years ago he went out to France about eight months ago. He was educated at the Modern School and attended Brunswick Wesleyan Chapel.
Pte Thompstone’s death was also reported in the Macclesfield Courier on 23 November 1918:
PRIVATE HAROLD THOMPSTONE – Mrs Thompstone, of Buxton Road, Macclesfield, has received news that her husband, Private Harold Thompstone, A.S.C. (M.T.), died in France on the 12th inst. The deceased, who was the son of the late Mr Isaac Thompstone, of Prestbury Corn Mill, joined the Army two years ago and had been in France about eight months. The body has been interred in the Military Cemetery. He married the only daughter of Mr James Earlam, Sunnycroft, Buxton Road, and she is left with one child. Before joining the Army he was manager for Mr Earlam, wholesale and retail grocer, etc, Queen Victoria Street.
Private Harold Thompstone is buried at Etaples Military Cemetery, in grave ref. XLIX. F. 16. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Harold Thompstone, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Private Harold Thompstone is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall, St Michael’s Church, Macclesfield Grammar School and Old Boys’ Club war memorials, and the Brunswick Wesleyan Methodist Church and Old Boys’ Club rolls of honour.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
Cheshire Parish Baptism Registers: Gawsworth Church, Macclesfield, Cheshire
Census (England & Wales): 1891, 1901, 1911
Cheshire Non-conformist Records, 1671-1900 (FamilySearch): Brunswick Methodist Church, Macclesfield
WWI Absent Voters Lists (FindMyPast): Macclesfield Parliamentary Division
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects (Ancestry)
Lives of the First World War website
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Times: 22 November 1918
Macclesfield Courier: 23 November 1918