David was one of three brothers who all served in The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars at the same time.

Cpl DM Thompson
Cpl DM Thompson

He was born in Yorkshire in October 1939 but moved to Stockport at an early age where he was brought up. He went to school there and eventually went to work in the Cotton Mills.

David joined the Army in April 1962 and after initial training, he was posted to the QRIH in Borneo and joined his brothers Arthur and Billy. All eventually returned to Wolfenbuttel in Germany. He married Shirley in 1968 and had two children Allison and Timothy. Unfortunately, Shirley and Allison have both passed away.

David left the Army in 1977 and found work as a Postman and then did various jobs until taking early retirement at the age of 61.

David met and married Sheila in 1987 and they had a daughter Annemarie. After his early retirement, he spent a lot of time taking part in game shows on Sky TV winning many prizes. He also regaled the family with stories of his time in the Army; he eventually found the regimental Website and took great comfort from reading the entries and making contact with old friends.

An appreciation by a friend.

I first met Dave whilst serving with 1st Troop ‘C’Sqn in the early ’60s in Borneo. I think the first thing I noticed about him was how unassuming he was and what a grafter, when we moved up country I saw Dave as he really was, kind, thoughtful and very family orientated. He wrote home at least one page every evening even though we couldn’t send any letters home. I recall he ended up with 5 or 6 notebooks full I would love to read them now!

Dave had a wonderful sense of humour, this was apparent on our first real night out at the Local Planters Club ‘Quite Posh’ we were told to wear civvies, and Dave being Dave had brought two left shoes. He sat at the bar all night with his legs crossed so no one would notice, I think only 1st Troop were the only ones who noticed. He wore them for the next four months on nights out. The locals were too polite to mention it or really didn’t notice. This is just one of the many hilarious moments shared with Dave and I am sure that all those who served with Big Dave will have their own stories to recall, as will his family.

Dave was a Gentle Man. The only time he was heard to shout was on the Football pitch, football being one of his passions. He was a very good sportsman being in the Army football team, the Ski-ing squad as well as the Basketball & Volleyball teams.

Our families kept in touch and visited each other for a couple of years when we left the Army, but as so often happens we lost touch.

In the middle of 2008, I got a telephone call asking, “is that Bob Cooper from the QRIH” unmistakably Big Dave. Dave came to Coventry to visit on several occasions and it was just as though we picked up where we left off. I was so glad about that. I hope that these happy memories of a lovely man will bring comfort to his family.

Dave attended the PJM medal presentation at Birmingham along with a room full of old friends who had all been in the same theatre of war in the 60s. It was there that I discovered that he lived in Tunstall, we made arrangements to meet on one of my many visits to old friends in Stoke, unfortunately, this was not to be as Dave was diagnosed with Cancer on 13 September 2009 and died on 2nd October after a short battle with this scourge.

Rest in Peace Big Man.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars
  2. Malaya and Borneo 1962-64