Lieutenant-Colonel Colin G Thomson OBE

29 Mar 1939 - 06 Oct 1981

  • Mentioned in Despatches medal
  • OBE medal
  • General Service Medal Clasp (1962 onwards) medal

Colin Gordon Thomson enlisted into The Royal Warwickshire Regiment for his National Service. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in July 1959.

2nd Lt Thomson transferred to The Parachute Regiment in November 1960, initially to the 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment in 1960 and then he was posted to C Company, the 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) and was promoted to Lieutenant in January 1961.

In 1962 Lt Thomason served with Recruit Company. PARA Depot.

Followed by a posting to be ADC (aide-de-camp) to General 'Tubby' Butler in the 2nd Division with British Army of the Rhine in 1963.

He was promoted to Captain March 1966.

During the late 1960s he had the role of G803 (Operations) at HQ 16 Parachute Brigade.

Major Thomson became the Officer Commanding 16th Lincoln Company, The Parachute Regiment (V) (16 Indep Coy PARA (V)) in 1971.

April 1976 saw 3 PARA arrive in Belfast, Northern Ireland. During this posting Maj Thomson commanded A Coy, 3 PARA at Crossmaglen.

In the London Gazette 26 April 1977 it was announced that Queen had approved Commendations for Valuable Service in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in Northern Ireland during the period 1 August 1976 —31 October 1976. Maj Thomson was awarded a Mentioned in Despatches.

Maj Thomson still was OC of A Coy when 3 PARA moved to Quebec Barracks, Osnabruck in early March 1977.

He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel July 1978 and took over as Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (2 PARA) the same year.

2 PARA went on two- year residential tour in Ballykinler in 1979 and included the Warrenpoint bombing of 2 PARA.

The London Gazette of 14 April 1981 announced that Lt Col Thomson was awarded to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of distinguished service in Northern Ireland during the period 1st August 1980 to 31st October 1980.

Lt Col Thomson left 2 PARA in April 1981 and was replaced by Lt Col H Jones .

Lt Col Colin Thomson OBE died of natural causes, aged 42 years on 6 October 1981.

From The Pegasus Journal April 1982



It is now some months since the death of Lieutenant Colonel Colin Thomson. He is greatly missed by his many comrades and friends in The Parachute Regiment - and will be for many years to come.

Colin joined the Regiment in 1960, serving as a Platoon Commander in the 1st Battalion and at the Depot. He was subsequently ADC to General 'Tubby' Butler in the 2nd Division, in BAOR, after which he returned to the Depot as Adjutant. It was here that, (apocryphal or not!), he answered the telephone one day to a call from "The Field Marshal", and remained characteristically and vehemently unpersuaded for some minutes that he really was talking to our second Colonel Commandant and not to a brother officer's impersonation. Colin went on to be the G803 (Operations) at HQ 16 Parachute Brigade, and then commanded Patrol Company 2 PARA in the early days of Northern Ireland. There followed a most successful tour as "the Major" of 16 Independent Company at Lincoln. He was greatly respected by the soldiers, mostly from Leicester, Nottingham, Chesterfield and Loughborough, who made up this spirited little "Private Army" within 44 Parachute Brigade. His reputation as the worst air traveller in the parachute business is one which his successors were obliged to maintain - it was expected of them! At Lincoln, as in all his commands in the Regiment, he was also admired for his directness. One particularly scruffy and unpromising-looking cook, forming up for Annual Camp, was greeted with a Thomson classic: "Blackley, I'm declaring war on you!"

The Thomson family then spent a year at Quetta, the Pakistan Staff College, after which Colin was posted to the Military Secretary's branch at Stanmore. This reluctant courtship with "the Ministry" was relieved by forays onto the cricket field – one of his great loves - and in his own eyes he reached the peak of his career as a spin bowler of disarming airiness when Peck - prolific Army century-maker - was "bowled Thomson". Colin was, indeed, a great lover of sport, and was very competitive in his quiet but single-minded way. His battalion's sporting achievements in Berlin were later to be a matter of great personal pride to him.

After MOD, he returned to 3 PARA as OC 'A' Company. His Crossmaglen ‘Mention in Dispatches’ was highly deserved - on a hard tour during which two of his soldiers - Pte's Snowdon and Barucki - tragically lost their lives. Later, in Osnabruck, Colin's great ability as a raconteur will perhaps especially be remembered for his account of the drunken German farmer who attacked his Company with live ammunition during an innocent (and "blank-firing") training excursion.

His highly successful period in command of the 2nd Battalion, in Berlin and Ballykinler, is well documented, and we are left now to mourn his sudden loss - the loss of a sincere friend, a dedicated officer and a brave, modest man. His example of duty and service to the Regiment, for which he worked so hard, should be a continuing inspiration to us all.

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Service History


Colin G Thomson


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