Canada in the Second World War

People

Robert (Bob) Charles Thompson

Trooper, Headquarters Squadron, 10th Canadian Armoured Regiment (Fort Garry Horse), Canadian Army Overseas, Second World War

Robert Charles Thompson was born in Melville, Saskatchewan on September 25th, 1922. The oldest child born to Charles Alexander Thompson and Rosetta McAllister Thompson, both immigrants from Ireland. Bob was the oldest of four siblings, first-generation Canadians.

He served four years with the Canadian Army, of which three years were overseas.

He received five medals: 1939-45 Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Overseas Clasp, War Medal 1939-1945.

Bob trained at Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. Later, he was attached to the Field Experimental Station, in Suffield, Alberta, where he was subjected to gas test trials along with many others. Bob transferred to the #1 Transit Camp in Windsor Nova Scotia and reported for duty in the United Kingdom on September 20th, 1943. Starting in Aldershot, England, he was stationed at many training areas, including the Cliffs of Dover. He was a respected Canadian weapons trainer in England.

Bob landed on D-Day and fought in the front lines of the war from Juno Beach, through Fleury-sur-Orne, the Battle of the Falaise Gap, Rouen, Armentières, into Belgium, into Germany, and back into the northern Netherlands. At this point he was a corporal in charge of the maps for the Regiment. Bob was involved in heavy fighting, lost tanks, and lost friends. Bob’s military records show that he was evacuated for medical treatment, but he did not share that in his letters.

Bob was part of the rebuilding of the City of Doetichem, Holland. He kept a copy of the Liberation Poster, October 28th, 1945, Doetichem (Holland), Parade of the Fort Garry Horse in Honour of the 4/7 Royal (British) Dragoon Guards, and we can identify him near the front of the parade in the fifth picture of this poster.

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Bob wrote many letters to his parents and siblings during his three years overseas. He was thankful for the many packages from home, the cakes, socks, cigarettes etc…, each package was appreciated, enhancing the diet they had while on the lines. He appreciated news of his parents, siblings, dog, chickens and neighbours. He was able to make furlough visits to his Aunts and Uncles in Belfast, Ireland and Birmingham, England.

Bob returned to Canada and received his discharge on March 3rd, 1946. He returned to his home town of Melville, Saskatchewan where he met his future wife, Velda McRae. Bob and Velda raised eight children as they moved around Canada in the Western Provinces and Ontario following Bob’s career in Natural Gas. He retired in 1987 in North Bay, Ontario, as Operations Manager of Ontario, Northern and Central Gas Company. He passed away after his 65th birthday on June 13th, 1988.

It is now 32 years since our father passed away. He encouraged us all to use our minds, to know and speak our beliefs, and to use well our talents. We still miss his humour, compassion, intellect and wisdom.

It was with great honour that four of our family recently made a visit to Europe to follow the path of the First and Second World War memorials and battlefields. We placed poppies on as many gravesites as possible, visited our Uncle Arthur Thompson’s gravesite from the First World War, and prayed Acts of Remembrances for those who fought and died, and also, all those who fought and survived.

On behalf of the family of Robert Charles Thompson

Submitted by Bob’s daughter Kerry Ann Saari.