Sergeant Joseph Beckett Thompson (566058) served in the Royal Air Force during World War Two. He was the son of Thomas Thompson and Sarah Thompson of Magheragall Co. Antrim.
He attended Lisburn Junior Technical High School before joining the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice in September 1932. By August 1935, he passed out as a qualified fitter. In the following years, he undertook pilot training and gained his wings. At the outbreak of war in September 1939, Thompson served as a Pilot with RAF 25 Squadron at RAF Northolt, London.
Joseph died on 31st July 1940 aged 24 years old. At the time, the Royal Air Force was involved in the Battle of Britain defending the skies over the United Kingdom from enemy fighters. He was the pilot of Bristol Blenheim Bomber L1408 and had taken off to test the Airborne Interception radar system. During the mission, his plane collided with Blenheim L6722 of RAF 29 Squadron over the Bristol Channel.
Aircraftman EJ Toy and Civilian Radar Engineer Mr. DM Gordon of RAF No. 32 Maintenance Unit died in Thompson’s plane. The occupants of the other plane; Sergeant E Waite, Sergeant CJ Richardson and Leading Aircraftman T Ward of No 32 Maintenance Unit were also lost.
Joseph Beckett Thompson’s grave is in Grave 194 of Magheragall Church of Ireland, Magheragall, Co. Antrim. His name is on the Lisburn War Memorial, Lisburn, Co. Antrim. His headstone bears the inscription:
Until the day break and the shadows flee away.