22 April 2015
8584 Private Gilbert Thomson of South Ronaldsay

Today is the centenary of the start of the Second Battle of Ypres, when the Germans used poison gas for the first time on the Western Front.  The severe fighting in the month that followed took the lives of four Orcadians who had volunteered to join the First Contingent of the Canadian Army and serve in Europe.  The biography of the Orcadian soldier who died on 22nd April 1915, Gilbert Thomson who grew up in South Ronaldsay, has been extracted from George Esson's book (with his permission) and added to the website as a Word document.  It can also be downloaded as a pdf using the link below.  The stories of the other Orcadian Canadians soldiers killed at Ypres in April and May 1915 will be added to the website, or highlighted there, on the anniversaries of their deaths.  Gilbert Thomson's family had left the island many years ago, so he is one of only three of the South Ronaldsay war dead whose portrait photo George has been unable to locate.

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