An article appeared in the Express & Star on 31 July 1916 detailing the experiences of the pastor of Queen Street Congregational Church, the Reverend R. W. Thompson, who had spent three months at the front. During his time there, he spent six weeks in charge of a Young Men’s Christian Association hut at the base camp at Calais. Then he spent a period attached to a training school of one of the armies for advanced training, before spending a week in the Ypres salient “going from place to place”.
At the YMCA hut he stated that
Two billiard tables were always in use, and we also provided at the hut a ‘rest room’, where the men might attend to their business affairs and read and write in perfect silence. This is much appreciated.
Near the army training school there was a convent, who had taken in 123 little girls found orphaned and abandoned in the streets after recent bombardment. One or two of them had been found “enfold in the arms of their dead mothers”. During his week in Ypres, the Reverend Thompson himself was also under fire, spending the night in a hut behind a hill which was being heavily bombarded, and “one shell burst so near that pieces of shrapnel fell all round him”. The newspaper congratulated him on his safe return to Wolverhampton.
Reginald Thompson was born in Cardiff in 1880, the son of William and Ellen K. Thompson. He married Dorothy Mabel Holmes at St Marylebone, London, in 1908, and by 1911, he was living with his wife and daughter, Dorothy Joan, at 11 Parkdale, Wolverhampton, and his trade was given as Congregational Minister. On 4 February 1953 (when his home address was given as 2 West Dene, Westbury on Trym, Bristol, he travelled to Sydney, Australia. He died on 23 March 1953, whilst still in Australia. The value of his effects was £17922 1s. 8d.