Military Wiki
Major Frank Thompson
Major William Frank Thompson of SOE
Major William Frank Thompson of SOE
Born William Frank Thompson
(1920-08-17)17 August 1920
Darjeeling, Bengal Presidency, British India
Died 10 June 1944(1944-06-10) (aged 23)
Litakovo, Kingdom of Bulgaria
Nationality English
Occupation Soldier
Known for SOE mission

Major William Frank Thompson (17 Aug 1920–10 June 1944) was a British officer who acted as a liaison officer between the British Army and the Bulgarian communist and antifascist partisans during World War II.

Thompson was born in Darjeeling, Bengal Presidency, British India to a British missionary family. He was educated at Winchester College and New College, Oxford. His younger brother, E. P. Thompson, became the English historian, socialist and peace campaigner.[1]

In 1939, while studying at the University of Oxford, he became a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain under the influence of his close friend Iris Murdoch. Despite his affiliation, he did not support the party's policy of neutrality dictated by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and joined the British Army as a volunteer, serving in England, North Africa, Syria, Iraq, Sicily, Serbia and Bulgaria. He was part of the Special Operations Executive.

On 25 January 1944, along with three other commandos, Major Thompson was sent on a parachute landing mission to establish a link between the British staff and the Bulgarian partisans led by Slavcho Transki; he landed near Dobro Pole, Macedonia. The commandos carried a radio to keep in connection with the staff in Cairo, Egypt and Bari, Italy, but it broke down. On 23 May, Thompson took part in the clash at the village of Batuliya between the Bulgarian Gendarmerie and the Second Sofia Brigade of National Liberation of the partisans. He was wounded by the gendarmerie forces, captured and executed by firing squad in the nearby village of Litakovo.

After the war and the establishment of a Communist government in Bulgaria, the nearby villages of Livage, Lipata, Tsarevi Stragi, Malak Babul, Babul and Zavoya were merged and renamed to Thompson in the British officer's honour.

E. P. Thompson wrote two books about his brother, the first with his mother, There is a Spirit in Europe: A Memoir of Frank Thompson. The second, Beyond the Frontier: the Politics of a Failed Mission, Bulgaria 1944, appeared in 1996.[1][2][2][3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Rattenbury, A., 1997. Convenient Death of a Hero. Review of Beyond the Frontier: the Politics of a Failed Mission, Bulgaria 1944 by Thompson, E. P. London Review of Books [Online] vol. 19 no. 9 pp. 12-13. Available from [Accessed 2 March 2011].
  2. 2.0 2.1 Beyond the Frontier: the Politics of a Failed Mission, Bulgaria 1944 by E. P. Thompson. Merlin/Stanford, 120 pp, £12.95, December 1996, ISBN 0-85036-457-4
  3. Brisby, Liliana (29 Mar 1997). "The ups and downs of Major Thompson". 

Further reading[]

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).