Meet My Ancestor: John F. Thomson

My father, John Frederick Thomson, was the eldest of male non-identical twins. He was born on 22nd May, 1925, in Fulham, London, to John William Thomson and Barbara Thomson (born Creasey).

My father and his twin Roderick moved from Chelsea, London, to a newbuild in Avondale Road, Aldershot with their parents John and Barbara in 1930. Grandad Thomson (more about him another time!) ran The West End Drug store in Queens Road until his death in 1970. In 1932 twin brothers Peter and Paul came along. Family rumour has it that, where my father and Rod were given family names, Peter and Paul were named by the nurses at the hospital – which makes me wonder if Grandma Thomson may have suffered post-partum depression. I will probably never know.

My father and his brother Roderick went to Grammar School (I believe it would have been Farnborough Grammar, though I’ve been unable to confirm this). John eventually became an electrician, Rod a technical draftsman. Uncle Rod joined the REME in 1943 via the Territorials, and went out to the Dutch East Indies, but my father suffered what is now called bi-polar disorder and was excused service (although I believe he served in some kind of ‘home guard’ capacity).

Dad had a fondness for motorbikes, and I have several photographs of him posing proudly with a number of different machines. He even had a black leather jacket! Up until I was about two years old, he had a motorbike and sidecar. Mum told me that after one horrendous journey to see her family in Kent (a long journey in those days, there being no motorway), he decided to get a small car instead – a Bon Mini or Isetta, I believe. (Not that I know too much about cars)

One of the early jobs my father had for a while was a projectionist at the Rex cinema in Farnborough, Hampshire, which is a few miles from Aldershot. Quite coincidentally, he was doing this at the same time as my husband’s Uncle Bill and when we mentioned this to him, he remembered meeting him.

Later my father worked as a Maintenance Electrician for Vokes (a company near Guildford in Surrey which manufactured air filters and various other mechanical parts) and then at Thorn EMI before retiring.

dad’s main hobby was model railways – he had a big collection of Hornby ‘O’ Gauge, mostly clockwork, but he had one engine which ran on methylated spirits. I remember the day it derailed and burned a hole in the linoleum in the front room. My parents, like many of their generation, didn’t tend to throw out anything that wasn’t functional, and the lino was fine, if a little scorched… it remained in situ until the day in 1999 when my widowed mother moved out.

L-R – my great aunt Alice Chirnside Tomson holding my father; my grandma Barbara Thomson (the twin’s mother); my great -grandma (and Alice’s mum) Martha, and my uncle Rod. Probably taken late 1925 or early 1926.

Categories: genealogy

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