Saturday, 31 March 2018

Frederick Twiss Thomson: CWGC Beechwood

The Ottawa Journal on 4 April 1918 reported, "one of the most impressive military funeral held in Ottawa for long time was yesterday accorded the late Lieut Frederick Tomson, formerly assistant paymaster in the Imperial office of the Navel Service." He had served in naval forces since July 1914. His father was reported to be living in New Zealand.

An article in the New Zealand newspaper, The Bruce Herald, has information about his earlier life.

"On Tuesday morning Mr David Thomson, of North Branch, Milton, received a cable from the Canadian naval authorities announcing that his youngest son, Paymaster Fred Twiss Thomson, had died in hospital at Ottawa, on April 1st from some internal trouble. Although several years have elapsed since Mr Thomson left Milton he is still remembered with deep respect by a large circle of friends throughout Otago. 
He was born at North Branch 32 years ago, and received his earlier education at Tokomairiro High School. On leaving the school be joined the service of Milton branch of the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Co., being transferred about twelve months later to the firm’s head office at Dunedin, and whilst there be studied accountancy at the Otago University. He remained seven years with the firm at Dunedin (until February, 1910), and attained the position of auctioneer for the firm.
Inspired with a desire to see more of the world he left on a trip to the Old Country early in 1910. After visiting relatives there he crossed over to Vancouver at which place he took up his residence, and followed his own particular line of business until the war broke out. The desire to serve his country occasioned him to join H.M.S. “ Rainbow ” almost immediately after war was declared. He remained on this ship until transferred to shore duty at Montreal and Ottawa, at which latter place he died on Monday.
Paymaster Thomson was a man of many parts, and had a bright career before him. He was interested in many social activities, and was a keen student of political economy. Perhaps his chief hobby was in debating societies —more particularly in Vancouver—where at times he represented the Y.M.C.A. in open debating competitions, and won the first prizes. He also wielded a facile pen, and some years ago contributed a number of interesting articles to the Bruce Herald on life in Vancouver and elsewhere in Canada.

This detail on the man who gave his life in service to Canada was only found because the National Library of New Zealand pursued a national program of newspaper digitization. Library and Archives Canada please note.

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