Lest We Forget

1914 - 1918

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.

Thomson, Robert

Leading Seaman, RNR, HMS Armadale Castle
Service Number
B 3593
16 June 1883 at Cellardyke, Fife.
Alexander and Annie Thomson.
Date of death
17 October 1918 (Aged 35)
Kilrenny Parish Churchyard, Fife
Other Memorials
Scottish National War Memorial (Edinburgh Castle)

Other Information

5 feet 9 inches tall, with brown eyes. He joined the RNR in 1905 and seems to have been a fisherman, serving in the fishing boat Guerdon FY283 in 1910 and 1911 before joining HM Dredger St Lawrence, HM Dockyard, Rosyth until the beginning of the war.

He undertook training in the cruiser HMS Sappho in 1905 and the “pre-Dreadnought” battleship HMS Irresistible for 28 days in 1911/12, and the battleship HMS Bulwark in the early part of 1914.

He appears to have been called for regular service at the outbreak of war, initially serving in HMS Pembroke (Chatham Barracks), then aboard the Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Kinfauns Castle from 8 August 1914 until 30 August 1915. During this period she was engaged in support of operations against German South West Africa (Namibia), including the capture of the enemy steamer Heinz. Subsequently she operated similarly against Tanganyika (Tanzania), before cruising to India and returning by the same route to Devonport.

He was in HMS Victory from 30 August until 22 October 1915 before being promoted to Leading Seaman and joined HMS Armadale Castle which was a similar Armed Merchant Cruiser on 29 November 1915

HMS Armadale Castle
HMS Armadale Castle

She operated from Simonstown, South Africa for a time, carrying troops and stores to East Africa. She then became a convoy escort from Sierra Leone to Devonport for a time, before switching to convoy escort in the North Atlantic.

The ship’s logs for the last few months of the war are not readily accessible, but Robert died in RN Hospital, Plymouth of bronco-pneumonia, which might have been caused by the flu epidemic.

His wife Margaret (Maggie) lived at 10 Pier Place (Pierhead Buildings), North Queensferry. They had daughters Nan in 1914 and Betty in 1915. After his death, Margaret moved to Fraserburgh.


Grave of Robert Thompson
Grave of Robert Thompson

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Scottish National War Memorial (Edinburgh Castle) (Edinburgh Castle)

National Archives. Service Record BT 3777/7/25916

Scotland’s People. Death Certificate 1918 146/MR0431. Will 1919 SC20/56/19


Log Books of HMS Kinfauns Castle and HMS Armadale Castle

Brian Armstrong

Here dead we lie, Because we did not choose
To live and shame the land, From which we sprung.

Life, to be sure, Is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is, And we were young.

[A.E. Housman]

When You Go Home,
Tell Them Of Us And Say,

For Your Tomorrow,
We gave our Today

[Kohima, attributed to John Maxwell Edmonds]

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