Tributes to Banbury war hero who took part in the D-Day landings

Ken Thompson passed away peacefully in his sleep this month, aged 101

Monday, 25th January 2021, 10:40 am
Updated Monday, 25th January 2021, 10:44 am

A war hero from Banbury who took part in the D-Day landings has died, aged 101.

Kenneth Richard Thompson, known as Ken, was awarded five service medals along with the Legion D’Honneur for his role during World War Two.

He passed away on January 4.

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Kenneth Richard Thompson.

His family have written the following tribute to Ken, who met his wife near Brackley and then brought up their family in Banbury.

Here is the family's tribute:

Ken was born in St Albans in 1919 and after a short while he moved with his family to Culworth.

At 17 he joined the Territorial Army with a few friends. He was therefore called up two days before war broke out and fought with the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry for 61/2 six-and-a-half-years.

Kenneth Richard Thompson.

We knew he took part in the D-Day landings but like many veterans he never talked about it. It was only when we applied for his Legion D’honneur that he sat down with me and shared some of his experiences.

He took part in the D-Day landings, driving a jeep from a landing craft on to Gold beach near Le Hamel. During the war he was involved in the liberation of both France and Holland.

Working with the engineers he was also one of the first people to cross the Rhine and watched the Paratroopers landing at Arnhem. He also talked about sleeping under his Jeep and his boots freezing to his feet. For his involvement in the war he was awarded another five service medals along with the Legion D’Honneur.

He met his wife Doris while he was on guard duty at Merediths yard, Brackley. They kept in touch throughout the war and married when he was demobbed. They moved to Whitfield and Ken went back to work at Alcan, cycling there and back. They had two sons Stewart and Keith and then moved to Banbury, living on Bretch Hill, where they brought up their boys.

Kenneth Richard Thompson

Ken took voluntary redundancy from Alcan and for a short while worked for Cherwell District Council, mowing the grass in the parks. After leaving Alcan, Ken and Doris bought a house in Kingsway, Banbury.

When Doris became ill, Ken looked after her at home until she had to go in to a care home. He spent every day there with her until her death 20 years ago.

Ken continued living in his own home enjoying visits from his family. Which by now had expanded to include five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. He always said he would keep going until he saw his granddaughter get married and that event happened nearly 10 years ago!

In the last few years Ken had carers come in to enable him to stay in his own home and he passed away peacefully in his sleep on January 4, aged 101.