William "Willie" Thomson

Willie Thomson was not unusual as a Scottish footballer for dying young, at the age of forty-three in 1917. But he was not despite the year, amongst the far too many who fell during The Great War. Nor was he a victim of environmental tuberculosis or self-administered alcohol. His death was a pure accident. He was an electrician, working on a boat in Greenock harbour, when he fell into a hold fatally fracturing his skull. He left a wife, Jemima nee Guild, who he had married in 1903, and five, perhaps six children, four of them born in Dundee, which, although by the time of his death they were all staying in Glasgow, is where the story, football and otherwise, begins. 

Willie was born on Tayside in 1874. His parents were both Dundonian, his father a Cloth Lapper. William himself having begun as a Boxer in a Jute Mill, then became an apprentice boiler-maker but turned to electricity, variously described through his working-life as well as an Electrician as an Electrical Engineer and an Electrical Linesman. But he was also a footballer, a right-winger, who had begun with junior side, Clydemore, but in 1892  at eighteen joined Dundee Our Boys, the year before it and East End merged to form Dundee F.C., for which he was then to play for another three seasons.

That is until in 1896, first, he completed his trade qualification, second, was awarded a cap, his only one, and was signed from Down South by Bolton Wanderers then in the English First Division. There he was to make forty-nine appearances in basically two seasons before his knee literally started to give-way and in 1899 was released, returning home. Bolton, incidentally, relegated the following season.

However, he had allowed himself to go under the knife in a very early example of sports surgery, it was successful and by October of that same year he was back playing. This time it was briefly for Victoria United in Aberdeen before being signed by Bristol Rovers as it entered the Southern League. However, he made little impression and at only twenty-six, Rovers safely mid-table, he was to hang-up his boots, wed in his home-town and settle into an ordinary life cut sadly short by fate.

Birth Locator:

1874 - 27, Rosebank Rd., Dundee


Residence Locations:

1881 -150, Princes St., Dundee

1891 - 27, Rosebank Rd., Dundee

1901 - 27, Rosebank Rd., Dundee

1903 - 38, Carmichael St., Dundee

1911 - N/A

1917 - 35, St. Clair St., Glasgow



Death Locator:

1917 - James Watt Dock, Greenock, Renfrewshire


Grave Locator:



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