James Waldie “Jim” Thomson

(June 29, 1911- March 7, 2006)

 

Winter/Thomson bridal party--l-r Grace Winter, Marion Winter Thomson, Commander Jim Thomson, best man Lt. Commander John M. Waters. Wedding was at the bride's parent's home--192 East Street. April 3, 1945

James Waldie Thomson Military Record

James Waldie Thomson decended from the carriage builder George Thomson of Sterling Scotland and his wife Mary Ann MacLaren.Their daughter, Mary Ann Christian MacLaren Thomson, married Rev. Matthew Parkhurst. Mary Ann’s brother Duncan MacLaren Thomson married Isabella Paton. Their son George Thomson married Hannah Belle Waldie. And their son, James Waldie Thomson, was born June 29, 1911 in Chicago, Illinois. Both of Jim's parents were born in Scotland. His father came to the US in 1875 and his mother, Hannah, came in 1889. George was president of a phosphate company. Jim’s siblings included, Duncan, Isabelle H., C. Elizabeth, Helen M., G. Muriel and George. Jim was the second son.

Jim graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1935. He skipped several classes while there. Upon his graduation from the Naval Academy in 1935, Jim Thomson was assigned to the USS Chicago. His duties aboard the cruiser continued until 1941, at which time he attended the Navy's graduate schools at Annapolis, Maryland, and at Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In 1943, he assumed the duties of Gunnery Officer aboard the USS Concord and in 1944, he became "gun boss" of the USS Amsterdam. From 1945 through 1947, he served at the U. S. Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island In 1947, CDR Thomson took command of the USS Perkins (DDR-377), until his assignment to the Armed Force Special Weapons Project at Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Commander Thomson assumed his duties as Executive Offier of the USS Wisconsin on May 16, 1952.

Jim married Marion Allison Winter on April 3, 1945. They had four children: Mary Ann "Mar Mac", George, Barbara Allison and Charles Winter

Jim was head of the weapons department from 1958-1960--they lived at 11 Porter Road near Gate 3 at Annapolis. Over the years they were based at Newport, San Diego, Albuquerque, Norfolk, San Diego again, D.C., San Diego again, Norfolk, and then in Arlington.

Wisconsin history that may be useful:

 

June 9 WISCONSIN steamed from Norfolk on a midshipmen training cruise which included visits to Greenock, Scotland; Brest, France; and Guantanamo Bay Cuba.
August 25 Departed Norfolk to participate in the NATO exercise “Operation Mainbrace” which commenced out of Greenock, Scotland and extended to Oslo, Norway.
September 24 Captain R. J. Foley relieved Captain Bruton of command.
September 24 WISCONSIN underwent overhaul in Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

1953
February 11 WISCONSIN sailed for Cuban waters for refresher training
May 3 WISCONSIN departed for Newport Rhode Island on a two week indoctrination and training period followed by a three-day visit to New York City.
June 4 Midshipmen cruise to Rio de Janerio, Brazil; Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
August 4 Returned to Norfolk Naval Shipyard for minor overhaul.
September 9 Captain M.F. D. Flaherty relieved Captain Foley of command. WISCONSIN departed Norfolk for Panama Canal and the Far East.
October 12 WISCONSIN relieved sistership USS NEW JERSEY (BB62) as flagship of the 7th Fleet.
October-December WISCONSIN visited Kobe, Sasebo, Yokosuka and Nagasaki.
December 25 WISCONSIN visited Hong Kong.

1954
April 1 She is relieved of duty in the Far East at Yokosuka, Japan by USS ROCHESTER (CA-124); then departed for the United States.
April 13 Arrived Long Beach, CA
April 15 Departed Long Beach, Ca for Norfolk, VA.
May 4 Arrived Norfolk, VA
June 7 Battleship Division 2 Norfolk Va. The only time the four Iowa class battleships operated together. Closest to the camera is the Iowa, then the Wisconsin, Missouri and New Jersey.
June 11 WISCONSIN entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for minor overhaul. Captain G. Serpell Patrick relieved Captain Flaherty of command.
July 12 Midshipmen cruise to Greenock, Scotland, Brest, France and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
September 3-27 Portsmouth, VA for repairs


Moved up to Commandant & Midshipman Retired after 30 years. Did not make admiral.
Was he on the USS Harry F. Bauer?
From 1958-59, Jim was Head of Department of Ordinance and Gunnery at the Naval Academy.
From 1959-60. Jim served as Director of Naval Sciences at the US Naval Academy in the Department of Naval Sciences.

Jim's Career Timeline:

1931-35 US Naval Academy, Commisioned Ensign June 6.

1935-41 On board the USS Chicago, July 1, 1938 promoted to LT (jg), Long Beach, CA. He was in F Division (fire control-Catapult Officer) The FC rating was established in 1941, when it was split off from the gunner's mate rating. Fire controlmen were highly skilled technicians responsible for the operation of various forms of range finding gear, and solving ballistics calculations to control the firing of the ship's guns. These skills were originally employed primarily for naval gunfire support, and surface combat, but during World War II, the responsibilities expanded into anti-aircraft warfare as well. USS Chicago (CL/CA-29) was a Northampton-class cruiser of the United States Navy that served in the Pacific Theater in the early years of World War II. She was the second US Navy ship to be named after the city of Chicago. Jim left the ship before it shipped out to the Pacific after Pearl Harbor.

!941-42. On December 15 he was asssigned to Post Graduate School at the US Naval Academy.

1942-43 Sent to graduate school at MIT. He wa Lt. Commander. During this time he spent 3-4 months on the USS Trenton which was based in PanamaHe served with Nev Shafer. His title was "Electrical Consultant" and gun officer. The USS Trenton (CL-11) was an Omaha-class light cruiser, originally classified as a scout cruiser, of the United States Navy. She was the second Navy ship named for the city of Trenton, New Jersey. She spent most of her pre-war career moving between the Atlantic and the Pacific. From mid-1942 to mid-1944, she patrolled the western coast of South America between the Canal Zone and the Strait of Magellan.

1943-44 He was Gun Officer on the USS Concord (CL 10). He ranks was Commander. From 5 September–24 November 1943, the Concord carried Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd on a tour to survey the potential use of a number of southeast Pacific islands in national defense and commercial aviation. During this cruise, she suffered a gasoline explosion which killed 24 men including her executive officer, and caused considerable damage, which was repaired at Balboa, Panama. Jim joined the ship in Panama, likely to help with repairs and shakedouwn voyages.

 

1944-45 He was the Gun Officer on the USS Amsterdam (CL 101). Tour included Norfolk, VA, Western Pacific adn Long Beach, CA

1945 April 3, Jim married Marion Allison Winter in Wrentham, MA.

1945-47 Jim was at the US Naval War College at Newport, RI. MaryMac born July 1946.

1947-48 USS Perkins (DDR 877) San Diego, Eniwetok. George born March 1948. USS Perkins (DD/DDR-877) was a Gearing-class destroyer in the United States Navy. She was the third Navy ship named for Commodore George H. Perkins USN (1835–1899). In May 1947, she was in the Far East for three months on the China station, two weeks of which were spent off Chinwangtao, on the Gulf of Po Hai, observing Communist Chinese forces. Perkins returned to California in October and in January 1948 sailed to the Marshalls for the atomic bomb test series "Operation Sandstone". Jim was present for these test.

1948-50 Special Weapons Unit 802 Sandia Base, Albuquerque, NM Barbara born Sept 1950.

1950-52 Staff CG Sandia Base

1952-54 Executive Officer USS Wisconsin, promoted to Captain, Norfolk, VA. Charles born Octover 7, 1952. Lived at 6036 25th Road, Arlington, VA.

1954-56 Bureau of Naval Personnel, Washington, DC.

1956-57 Industrial College Armed Forces, Washington, DC

1957-58 USS Seminole (AKA 104) West Pacific, San Diego, CA. USS Seminole (AKA-104/LKA-104) was a Tolland-class attack cargo ship of the United States Navy named after counties in Florida, Georgia, and Oklahoma. Seminole was designed to carry military cargo and landing craft, and to use the latter to land weapons, supplies, and Marines on enemy shores during amphibious warfare and operations. She served as a commissioned ship for 25 years and 9 months.

1958-60 Head of Department of Ordinances and Gunnery, US Naval Academy. Director of Haval Sciences Division

1960-61 Commander of Ammphibian Squadron, (PHIB)Two Norfolk, VA Con, Phib/Run 2 flagshipnRome?

1961-65 Operation Tol, to CNO (Chief of Naval Operations) Washington, DC

1965-66 Consultant, Stanford Research Center (Amphibious Study), Washington DC, 2 yr appointment.

1966-76 Officer, Assistant Secretary of Naval Operation (Computers). Automated Data Processing for Equipt Selection Office.

 

Above is from the 1935 Naval Academy yearbook.

Jim and Marion Winter Thomson's wedding, April 3, 1945, in the home of the bride's parents, 192 East Street, Wrentham, with Grace Winter, Fannie and Charlie Winter (parents of the bride), Velma Winter behind Fannie and Charlie, Beth Winter far right. The couple drove to Newport News where he shipped out the next day. The minister was Melville Shafer who married the bride's parents 28 years prior.

Cruise Book for the USS Wisconsin

Jim served as the Executive Officer on the USS Wisconsin in the 1950s. Here are some photos from its Cruise Book.

Dorm V. Menta, at left,was one of the three photographers that took the photos in the Cruise book below. In an e-mail to me commented, "We worked on obtaining these photos during our deployment to the Far East from September 9, 1953 to our return to Norfolk, VA, on May 4, 1954. As a ships photographer one of the many assignments we had was to take photos of events and dignitaries that were invited aboard by the Captain and his staff. So we did get to know the Captain and Executive officer pretty well.'
"Commander Thomson came across as someone who liked his ship very much and wanted the best for the ship he was responsible for. He was a stern but fair officer. I enjoyed the few conversations we had during our photo shoots. I enjoyed taking pictures when James was involved. He never gave me a hard time."

 

A view that Jim would have seen many times.

 

 

Navy Cruise Books, 1918-2009 › ... W › USS Wisconsin (BB-64) › 1952-1954

 

Jim at left in photo above.

 

United States Naval Academy - Lucky Bag Yearbook (Annapolis, MD) 1960. James W. Thomson, fourth from left.

 

 

 

Gallery of James W. Thomson's Ships

USS Chicago

USS Chicago (CL/CA-29) was a Northampton-class cruiser of the United States Navy that served in the Pacific Theater in the early years of World War II. She was the second US Navy ship to be named after the city of Chicago. After surviving a midget submarine attack at Sydney Harbour and serving in battle at the Coral Sea and Savo Island in 1942, she was sunk by Japanese aerial torpedoes in the Battle of Rennell Island, in the Solomon Islands, on 30 January 1943.

USS Concord

USS Concord (CL-10) was an Omaha-class light cruiser, originally classified as a scout cruiser, of the United States Navy. She was the fourth Navy ship named for the town of Concord, Massachusetts, the site of the first battle of the American Revolution. She spent the first nine years of her career in the Atlantic as part of the Scouting Force. Concord transferred to the Pacific in 1932 and spent the rest of her career, except for the winter of 1938–39, stationed there. Her home port moved to Pearl Harbor in April 1940 but escaped the attack on Pearl Harbor because she was in San Diego for an overhaul

USS Wisconsin

Wisconsin was one of the "fast battleship" designs planned in 1938 by the Preliminary Design Branch at the Bureau of Construction and Repair. She was the third of four completed ships of the Iowa class of battleships.[4] Her keel was laid down on 25 January 1941, at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. She was launched on 7 December 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Goodland, wife of Walter S. Goodland, the Governor of Wisconsin, and commissioned on 16 April 1944, with Captain Earl E. Stone in command.Relieved as flagship of the 7th Fleet on 1 April by sister ship Iowa, Wisconsin departed Yokosuka, bound for the United States. En route home, she touched briefly at Guam, where she took part in the successful test of the Navy's largest floating dry-dock on 4–5 April, marking the first time that an Iowa-class battleship had ever utilized that type of facility. She continued her homeward-bound voyage, via Pearl Harbor, and arrived at Long Beach, California on 19 April; she then sailed for Norfolk.[5]

Post Korean War (1952–1981)

On 9 June, Wisconsin resumed her role as a training ship, taking midshipmen to Greenock, Scotland; Brest, France; and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, before returning to Norfolk. She departed Hampton Roads on 25 August and participated in the NATO exercise Operation Mainbrace, which was held out of Greenock, Scotland. After her return to Norfolk, Wisconsin underwent an overhaul in the naval shipyard there. Wisconsin remained in the Atlantic fleet throughout 1952 and into 1953, training midshipmen and conducting exercises. After a month of routine maintenance Wisconsin departed Norfolk on 9 September 1953, bound for the Far East.

Sailing via the Panama Canal to Japan, Wisconsin relieved New Jersey as 7th Fleet flagship on 12 October. During the months that followed, Wisconsin visited the Japanese ports of Kobe, Sasebo Navy Yard, Yokosuka, Otaru, and Nagasaki. She spent Christmas at Hong Kong and was ultimately relieved of flagship duties on 1 April 1954 and returned to the United States soon thereafter, reaching Norfolk, via Long Beach and the Panama Canal, on 4 May.

Entering the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 11 June, Wisconsin underwent a brief overhaul and commenced a midshipman training cruise on 12 July. After revisiting Greenock, Brest, and Guantánamo Bay, the ship returned to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for repairs. Shortly thereafter, Wisconsin participated in Atlantic Fleet exercises as flagship for Commander, Second Fleet. Departing Norfolk in January 1955, Wisconsin took part in Operation Springboard, during which time she visited Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Then, upon returning to Norfolk, the battleship conducted another midshipman's cruise that summer, visiting Edinburgh; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Guantánamo Bay before returning to the United States.

USS Seminole

USS Seminole (AKA 104) West Pacific, San Diego, CA. USS Seminole (AKA-104/LKA-104) was a Tolland-class attack cargo ship of the United States Navy named after counties in Florida, Georgia, and Oklahoma. Seminole was designed to carry military cargo and landing craft, and to use the latter to land weapons, supplies, and Marines on enemy shores during amphibious warfare and operations. She served as a commissioned ship for 25 years and 9 months.

USS Amsterdam

USS Amsterdam (CL-101) was a United States Navy Cleveland-class light cruiser, the last of the class to see action in World War II.

The ship was laid down on 3 March 1943 at Newport News, Virginia, by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, launched on 25 April 1944, sponsored by Mrs. William E. Hasenfuss (the first "Gold Star Mother" of Amsterdam, New York, who had lost her son William E. Hasenfuss, Jr. in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor), and commissioned at the Norfolk Navy Yard Portsmouth, Virginia, on 8 January 1945, Captain Andrew P. Lawton in command.After final fitting out at Norfolk, Virginia, the cruiser got underway on 5 February for shakedown training in the Chesapeake Bay. On 17 February, she stood out from Hampton Roads and headed south for Trinidad and the second phase of her shakedown cruise. Amsterdam operated from Trinidad through 13 March, when she set a course for Norfolk. During the return voyage, she held shore bombardment practice off the island of Culebra and then arrived back at Norfolk on the 20th. Following a short cruise to Cape May, New Jersey, for gunnery exercises, the ship entered the Norfolk Navy Yard on 24 March for availability.

Amsterdam left the yard on 20 April for training exercises in Chesapeake Bay and, four days later, sailed for the Caribbean. She held training exercises off Culebra and at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and then proceeded to the Panama Canal which she transited on 5 May. The warship reached Pearl Harbor on 18 May, and during her stay in Hawaiian waters, carried out numerous gunnery and tactical exercises.

On 9 June, the cruiser set a course for Leyte, Philippine Islands. Upon her arrival in San Pedro Bay on the 21st, she reported to the 3rd Fleet for duty. After a period of provisioning and refueling, the ship sortied, with Task Force 38, on 1 July to cover air strikes against the Japanese home islands. On 10 July, the force's planes began a series of raids on Japanese airfields, factories, and shipping. During these actions, Amsterdam protected the carriers from attack by enemy air or surface forces. Among the cities the task force attacked were Tokyo, Kure, Kobe, and Osaka. On 15 August, TF 38 was preparing to launch another attack on Tokyo when its ships received word of Japan's capitulation.

During the next few weeks, Amsterdam remained in waters off the east coast of Honshū guarding against possible Japanese aggression during armistice negotiations. She steamed into Tokyo Bay on 5 September and remained there through the 20th and then shaped a course for the United States. After brief layovers at Buckner Bay, Okinawa, and Pearl Harbor to take on personnel for transportation to the United States, the cruiser arrived at Portland, Oregon, on 15 October and remained at that port for a fortnight to participate in Navy Day ceremonies. On the 29th, she got underway for San Pedro, California.

The ship reached San Pedro on 1 November. After a period of leave and upkeep, the cruiser left the west coast on 19 November bound for Pearl Harbor. She touched there on the 25th, and took on personnel and equipment for transportation to the west coast. The cruiser set sail again on 12 December, arrived back at San Pedro on the 18th, and rode at anchor there into early 1946. On 21 January, she got underway for San Francisco. Shortly after her arrival, her crew began work to prepare the ship for inactivation and entry into the Pacific Reserve Fleet. She was decommissioned on 30 June 1947 and was laid up at San Francisco. Amsterdam's name was struck from the Navy List on 2 January 1971, and the vessel was sold on 11 February 1972 to National Metal and Steel Corporation, Terminal Island, California, and later scrapped.[1]


USS Perkins

USS Perkins (DD/DDR-877) was a Gearing-class destroyer in the United States Navy. She was the third Navy ship named for Commodore George H. Perkins USN (1835–1899). Perkins was laid down by the Consolidated Steel Corporation at Orange, Texas on 19 June 1944, launched on 7 December 1944 by Mrs. Larz Anderson (Isabel Weld Perkins) and commissioned on 4 April 1945.

Following shakedown off Cuba, Perkins entered the Norfolk Navy Yard for conversion to a radar picket destroyer. In July 1945 she underwent refresher training, rendezvoused with the aircraft carrier Boxer on 20 July, and headed for the Pacific. At Pearl Harbor she joined Destroyer Division 52 (DesDiv 52) and on 19 August sailed for the Far East. She entered Tokyo Bay the day of the formal Japanese surrender, on 2 September, and on the 3rd joined Task Force 38 (TF 38). Operations in the Marshalls, Marianas, and off Japan followed and in April 1946 she returned to Pearl Harbor. On the 28th she arrived at San Diego, California whence she operated for the next year.

In May 1947, she returned to the Far East for three months on the China station, two weeks of which were spent off Chinwangtao, on the Gulf of Po Hai, observing Communist Chinese forces.
Perkins returned to California in October and in January 1948 sailed to the Marshalls for the atomic bomb test series "Operation Sandstone". Overhaul followed her return to San Diego in June and on 4 January 1949 she departed the west coast for another tour off the China coast. Arriving at Tsingtao on 7 February, she was redesignated DDR–877 on 18 February. Scheduled exercises soon began, but, in addition, she was called on to lift foreign residents of Tsingtao to Hong Kong as Communist forces took over the former city in May. In June she battled her first typhoon, and after visiting Singapore in August, she returned to San Diego.

 

 

 

 

 

Burial:
United States Naval Academy Cemetery
Annapolis
Anne Arundel County
Maryland, USA