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Thompson, James Edwin

Service number:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)


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Second World War (1939-1945)
Flight Lieutenant
No. 58 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
December 10th, 1946
"Flight Lieutenant Thompson was a member of the crew of an aircraft which failed to return from an operational sortie over Germany on 11th September, 1940. He was captured by the Germans when he landed on the shores of the Baltic near Lubeck. A few weeks after capture, Flight Lieutenant Thompson escaped from a tram at Stralsund station, while being transferred from Oberursel to Barth. He climbed out of the window, while the guard's attention was distracted, and crawled along the railway track. His absence was discovered however and he was recaptured after a very short time. In January, 1942, whilst at Stalag Luft I at Barth, this officer made his second attempt to escape, after studying the movements of the guards and the general layout of the camp for a period of months. He gained admission to the non-commissioned officers' compound to take part in a football match and remained in hiding in the barracks wihen the other officers left. Later that night lie crawled under the double gate leading to the football field and climbed over the perimeter fence. The whole operation took nine hours, and, when he was eventually free, he made has way towards Stralsund. There he was recaptured three days later while waiting for a boat to Sweden. Subsequently, Flight Lieutenant Thompson took an active part in several tunnel digging operations, but all of these were discovered before completion.He was eventually repatriated in September,1944. Throughout his captivity, this officer showed great determination in has efforts to escape and his enthusiasm was never shaken by his failures."
Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)