Plaque honouring soldier killed in Afghanistan could be added to cenotaph

A North East war hero killed in action by the Taliban bomb have a lasting tribute erected in his home town of Whitley Bay.

By Herbert Soden
Monday, 26th July 2021, 10:41 am
The cenotaph in Whitley Bay.

James Christopher Thompson was killed on May 19, 2008, after treading on an improvised explosive device (IED) in Musa Qaleh, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

A coronor’s inquest held a year later heard the special forces hero had been checking an area for mines with Afghan police, but stumbled onto the bomb after the officers became impatient and broke away from British troops.

The soldiers had come under fire from insurgents and, after the British troops checked the area for bombs “as best they could”, the fatal explosion was heard.

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Now, North Tyneside Council has revealed plans to fit a bronze plaque to the cenotaph on The Links, Whitley Bay, to honour his memory.

The 300 x 280mm plaque will be fixed to one of the low plinths outside of the monument.

A planning document said: “The installation of the plaque will further improve local heritage information to visitors and a historic plaque will be in keeping with the heritage plaques that list the names of those fallen in conflicts.”

Mr Thompson, 27, was declared dead after suffering “catastrophic” injuries.

It later emerged he had trodden on a sophisticated device which could not have been pinpointed by the soliders’ electronic detectors.

Mr Thompson, who was serving with the 5th Scottish Regiment Battle Group, gained a place with the Special Forces on his third attempt.

He then took up civilian work as a technician, before being called up for a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan in December 2007.