On This Day 26-FEB 1944, We Remember a Fallen Hero
Ronald F Thomson was born in 1918 and lived at 427 N. Kingshighway in St. Charles Missouri. His father was Ronald M. Thomson (1876-1953) and his mother was Elma Maude Filar (1883-1944). He had one brother and one sister: Julia and Mark.
He attended St. Charles High School. Ronald received his degree from University of Missouri in 1941. Prior to his induction in the Army, Ronald F. Thomson was employed by his father as a reporter and advertising manager for St Charles Banner News in St Charles. Ronald was a 2nd Lieutenant with the 592nd Engineer Shore Regiment. Since February 1943, Ronald was serving with an Army Amphibian Engineer unit in the Southwest Pacific.
Beginning in the summer of 1943, U.S. forces in the Pacific launched Operation Cartwheel, a series of amphibious assaults aimed at encircling the major Japanese base at Rabaul, on the island of New Britain in the southwest Pacific. General Douglas MacArthur led the Allied advance through New Guinea, while Admiral William “Bull” Halsey led a simultaneous northward advance in the Solomon Islands. The two-pronged campaign was able to neutralize Rabaul by March 1944, effectively cutting it off from the rest of Japan’s island positions in the Pacific.
It was during this operation on 26-FEB 1944 that Ronald F. Thomson was killed in action. He was 26. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the news in St. Louis on 7-MAR-1944. The newspaper article stated, “Ronald was killed while participating in an amphibious landing on a mission to Biliku Island near New Britain. Ronald’s mother, Mrs. Elma M. Thomson, wife of Ronald M. Thomson (Ronald F’s father) died on 13-MAY after an illness intensified by the news on 6-MAR that her son was killed in action. Mrs. Thomson was 60 years old and volunteered for the war effort as Production Chairman of Red Cross Sewing Projects in St. Charles.”
Ronald is buried at Fort McKinley Manila American Cemetery. There is a memorial tombstone in Oak Grove Cemetery in St. Charles.
Ronald F. Thomson is honored and remembered at the St. Charles County Veterans Museum on the Wall of Honor.