Volunteers

Email | Share | Print

Robert George Thompson

Biography

BN Commanders


Thompson, Robert George. b. June 21, 1915, Grand Pass, Oregon (California), Single, received passport# 23664 on August 19, 1935 which listed his address as 793 18th Street, Oakland, California, Arrived in Spain on February 5, 1937, Served with the XV BDE, Lincoln BN, WIA Jarama; OTS, Mackenzie-Papineau BN, Commander, Served at Jarama and Fuentes de Ebro, Returned to the US on August 13, 1938 aboard the President Roosevelt, WWII US Army, PTO, Decorated for bravery during the Buna Campaign in the PTO; d. October 16, 1965, after a long fight with the Veterans Administration he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

 

Sources: SACB, RA, Daily Worker article and photograph January 20, 1938, p. 2, Ancestry.

Photogrph: Robert Thompson, Mackenzie-Papineau BN, Philip Detro, Lincoln-Washington BN, Garcia, 24th BN, (kneeling) O’Dair, British and Aguila 24th BN. The 15th International Brigade Photographic Unit Photograph Collection ; ALBA Photo 11; ALBA Photo number 11-0731. Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.

ALB Archival Materials

Search the Tamiment Archives

Images

Full Database Record

Last Name Thompson
First/Middle Name Robert George
Ethnicity
Ethnicity Note
Immigration Status
Religion
POW
AKA Last Name 1
AKA First / Middle 1
AKA Last Name 2
AKA First / Middle 2
DOB
City
State
Foreign Nation
Foreign Nation City
Alt Pob State, City
Family: Name
Family: Relationship
Family: Begin Date
Family: End Date
Family: Comments
Education HS
Education College / Univ 1
Education College/Univ Notes
Education College/Univ 2
Graduate or Doctoral Work
Graduate or Doctoral Work Notes
Prior Military Service
Passport #
Passport Series
Passport Reported Lost in Spain
Passport Age
Passport Date
PP or Known Address Street
PP or Known Address City
PP or Known Address State
ALT City
Alt State
Sail Date
Ship
Marital Status
Marital Notes
Vocation 1
Vocation 2
Vocation 3
Party Affiliation
Date Affiliation
ALT Affiliation
ALT date
ALT affiliation 2
Arrival (in Spain) Date
Units served with
Battle action
Rank
Returned Date
Returned other
WWII Service
DOD
Cause
Place Died City
KIA/MIA/Died other
KIA/MIA/Died other Date
KIA/MIA/Died other Location
KIA/MIA/Died other Battle
Additional Notes Robert George Thompson was an American Communist and hero of the World War II Pacific Theater who was imprisoned by the United States government during the 1950s Red Scare on account of his commitment to communist beliefs. Born on June 21, 1915 in Grants Pass, Oregon, Thompson fought on the side of the left-wing Spanish Republicans in the Civil War in Spain, attaining the rank of battalion commander with the all-American volunteer Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Thompson saw action during World War II in the Pacific Theater; cited for "extraordinary heroism" during the American New Guinea Campaign, he won the United States Army's Distinguished Service Cross and approval for a battlefield commission as an officer. Convicted alongside the rest of the Communist Party USA leadership of violating the Smith Act, he escaped on bail, going underground, only to be recaptured and sent to prison in the early 1950s. While serving out his sentence, Thompson was assaulted by a group of Yugoslav fascists who had jumped ship in the United States, one of whom cracked Thompson's skull with a metal pipe while the veteran was standing on a lunch line. It is widely believed that he died as a result of his injuries not long afterward. Undeterred, Thompson continued with Communist Party work after his release, including organizing protests against the Vietnam War. He suffered a fatal heart attack on October 16, 1966. The United States Army posthumously denied him a burial at Arlington National Cemetery. Striking a dissenting chord days after his death, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Murray Kempton wrote: "And so, an American who was brave has been judged and disposed of by Americans who are cowards of the least excusable sort, cowards who have very little to fear. Yesterday the Army called Robert Thompson's widow and said that it would send his ashes wherever she wished. Wherever those ashes go, the glory of America goes with them." - Biography courtesy of Wikipedia.