Tom Thompson served 32 years in the Navy

Tom Thompson, a member of the Royal Canadian Legion in Chemainus, will be a 50-year Legion member this year.

Tom Thompson served 32 years in the Royal Canadian Navy

Tom Thompson served 32 years in the Royal Canadian Navy

Tom Thompson may be retired from the Royal Canadian Navy, but he still keeps his ties with the military by being active in the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 191 in Chemainus and working to clean, repair and mount medals.

Thompson served 32 years in the Navy.

Thompson was born in Toronto’s Danforth area in the east end but was raised mostly in Bracebridge in Ontario’s Muskoka region.

His first taste of the military came with the Hamilton Hillpark Sea Cadets and Haida in Toronto, where he was introduced to brass musical instruments.

Thompson joined the Navy as a cook in 1960.

After a few years in the galley, he became a ship’s writer. As the ship’s writer, Thompson was the chief administrator to the captain, and he had a staff of five. He looked after all the pay and administration and the staff that looked after those areas on ships and on shore, he explained, noting he was responsible for personnel records, engineering matters and anything to do with administration and pay.

With the Navy, Thompson visited nearly every country in the world. He has been to the Orient, Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia, parts of the Baltic and the Arctic.

“I’ve been across the Equator four times and the Arctic Circle three times,” he said.

Thompson sailed on numerous vessels, including HMCS Lanark and HMCS Haida, Canada’s most decorated warship.

After serving with the Haida Sea Cadets in his younger days, Thompson served five years on the destroyer HMCS Haida, which was decommissioned in 1963 and is now a National Historic Site.

“It’s a museum in Hamilton, Ont., now,” said Thompson. “It’s the only tribal-class destroyer in the world now. It had quite a war effort. There was nobody killed on that ship in the war.”

Thompson served in headquarters in Halifax for five years and the recruiting centre in Kingston for five years then headed for the West Coast, where he sailed with 4 Squadron as writer and then 3rd Victoria Squadron as chief clerk.

Thompson counts among his achievements working with the Diving Unit in the 1970s as they wrote the NATO Diving Manual, which is still in use today, and participating in the Nova Scotia and CFB Esquimalt 75th Anniversary Tattoos as staff in 1987.

Thompson had three trades in the Navy — writer, pay and administration, and musician and qualified drum major for military brass and pipe bands.

Thompson’s association with military music has been a lifelong love. He has played with the Stadacona and Naden Navy Bands and Pipe and Drum Band and organized the Mass Pipe Band for the Senior Games in Duncan and the grand re-opening of the Duncan Legion.

This year, Thompson, who is 70, will be a 50-year member of the Legion.

“I’ve belonged to Legions from coast to coast,” he said. “I’ve been a member of the Colour Party for almost 30 years. I’m 70 and just about ready to retire or just do my medals — that’s enough to keep me busy.”

Thompson has been a member of the Chemainus Legion for about five years but has been coming to their Colour Party for longer.

When he isn’t participating in musical endeavours, Thompson, who lives in Duncan, cleans, repairs, anodizes and court mounts and swing mounts medals.

Just Posted

Kate Cram and her team at Old Town Ice Cream are thrilled to be open for business. (Cole Schisler photo)
Old Town Ice Cream opens up right on time for summer

Located at 539 1st Avenue, Old Time Ice Cream is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Volunteers Alex Cook, Ron Dashwood, and Bill Drysdale have been hard at work restoring the old Ladysmith train station. (Cole Schisler photo)
Train station restoration on track for future community open house

Community is asked to give feedback on what they think the best use is for the station

Chemainus Indigenous Peoples Weekend organizer Connie Crocker. (Photo submitted)
Chemainus Indigenous Peoples Weekend online June 19-21

Event’s been in the planning stages since February without knowing COVID implications

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read