John Thompson, a Grenadier Guard

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Someone sent me an email recently on Thompson name which prompted me to check what I had on our gg grandfather John Thompson (or ggg grandfather for my children's generation) and I looked a little further into it. (My maternal grandmother was Maude Thompson, see below.) My notes for that person on our ancester John are reproduced below. Looking at the photos I had scanned (see images below and note that the campaign medals were awarded to enlisted men many years after the war in the regin of Victoria although officers had received theirs earlier) of the campaign medal for his part in the Peninsula under Wellington against Napoleon (1808-14 ) I noted that his regiment was the "1st Foot Gds." which sounds innocent enough. (The medal is in the possession of Ray Denny at Scottsdale, a descendant of Elizabeth the daughter of John - and whether he was still with them at Waterloo in 1815 is not known at this stage). I had read the Regiment name as previously as in other notes as "First Regiment of Foot" as distinct from the First Regiment of Foot Guards. Now you could well be as ignorant I was as to the significance of these names, and you might care less, but out of pure curiosity I went looking for the history of the regiment - if I could identify it - thinking that if it were found we would perhaps then be able to find its records and discover where he was originally recruited from and perhaps his native place, as well as some details of his life history in the period of service which was probably some years before he was recruited to the Royal Veterans and sent to Van Deimens Land to guard convicts. It turns out that the former regiment, the First Foot Guards, became known as the Grenadier Guards, the regiment which always ranks first in order of precedence in the British Army, and the latter, the First Regiment of Foot, was better known as "the Royal Scots" which ranks first after the three Guards regiments; and today I have received an email from a regimental museum which confirms that our John would have been in the Grenadier Guards. I don't know what that does for you, but it is at least interesting.

My notes for the original inquiry slightly amended give the connection of John to us through my mother Kath's parents Henry and Maude Jessup : -
My g.g.grandfather John Thompson, who was an immigrant to Tasmania, was a member of the Royal Veterans Corps recruited from former NCOs in the British Army to guard prisoners in Tasmania, then Van Deimens Land. He had served earlier in the Napoleonic Peninsula Wars. His wife's name was Harriet, and they came to VDL from West Meath, Ireland, in 1826. She died in 1840 and he married again to Eleanor Fullerton in 1842. He died in Tas in 1858 aged 74. His son Augustus, born in Tas in 1834, was my great grandfather. He married Mary Ann Featherstone and died in 1884. They had two daughters Ellen Maude and May and one son William Burn T who settled in the Ringarooma district where there are descendants living today, including Terry who is a friend of my brother John. The daughter Maude of Augustus and Mary Ann was my grandmother who married Henry Jessup and lived at Scottsdale. Augustus had a brother named John Burn(s) Thompson
b. 1829 in Tas, d. 1898 in Tas, who spent some time on the goldfields in Victoria and was a successful businessman. We have no evidence that he ever went to New Zealand, but goldminers did tend to move around. He gave some money to the orphaned children of his brother. There is a birth record of a son of John Burns T and his wife Charlotte Ives, named Robert Burns T. b. 1857.

The Grenadier Guards Association web site gives the following brief introduction to the history of the regiment which has continued in active service up the present time - ie not only on ceremonial duty at Buckingham Palace where they are commonly seen by tourists:-
The Regiment, as the Royal Regiment of Guards, was formed in 1656 by King Charles II who was then in exile in Bruges, Flanders. It was known as the First Guards later becoming the First Regiment of Foot Guards and now bears the title "The First or Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards" in honour of the defeat of Grenadiers of the French Imperial Guard at the battle of Waterloo in 1815. It is the only regiment in the British Army that has directly gained it's title from the part it played in action.
Since it's formation the Regiment has fought in almost every major campaign of the British Army. It fought against the Moors at Tangiers (1680) and in America (1776-82) and even took part as Marines in the naval wars against the Dutch (1793). They also fought in the Napoleonic Wars, Waterloo (1815), Crimea (1854-56). Tel-el-Kebir (1882) the Boer War (1899-1902) and both World Wars.

DB 10 February 2003 [More to be added on Thompson ancestry in association with Featherstone history and Jessup family]

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