John Thomson was born in Leven, Fife, on 10 July 1885. There is no father recorded on his birth certificate and he was brought up in his grandparents' home in Durie Street where he is recorded on the 1901 census as a cabinetmaker's apprentice. George, his grandfather, was a golf club greenkeeper presumably at Leven Links close to the house.
He took up the position of professional at Felixstowe in 1903 and spent three further years here before becoming professional at Wells in Somserset, 1909 or 1910 he took up the position of professional to the Gloucester club at Brockworth Park and is mentioned in the local papers for setting new course records in 1910 and 1911. The 1911 census shows him, listed as a golf professional, living with wife Annie in Hucclecote.
In the First World War he served with the 12th Gloucestershire Regiment as a Sergeant. He was seriously wounded with gunshot to chest and thigh and died of these wounds in a clearing station in Salonika on 12 September 1918. By this time he was a private in the 2nd Bn, Gloucestershire Regiment. He is buried in the Karasouli Military Cemetery.
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