Alvin
S.
Thompson


 

ALVIN S. THOMPSON was born in Camden, New Jersey on March 21, 1895 to Harry H. Thompson and his wife, the former Georgetta Steed, according to New Jersey state records. He was the oldest child, coming before sister Lola and brothers Lydon and Harry Thompson. His father worked as a draughtsman at one of the shipyards along the Delaware. The 1900 Census shows the family at 708 Royden Street in Camden. The Thompson family left Camden shortly after the census was taken, but appears to have come back for a short time, as the 1905 and 1906 City Directories show them at 810 Haddon Avenue. By 1910 the family was living at 219 Eighth Avenue in Haddon Heights, New Jersey. The Thompson family later moved to a farm on Union Mill Road in Mt. Laurel, Burlington County, New Jersey.

Alvin Thompson came to Camden in the mid-19010s. When he registered for the draft on June 5, 1917, Alvin Thompson was boarding at 608 South 4th Street, the home of William and Emma Watts, and their daughter Maola. He then worked as a clerk at the J.B. Van Sciver furniture factory and store. 

After serving in the military dirung World War I, Alvin Thompson returned to Camden. He moved back in with the Watts family at 608 South 4th Street. When the Census was taken in January of 1920, Alvin S. Thompson was then working as a bank clerk. Alvin and Maola married shortly after the Census was taken. By 1923 Alvin S. Thompson had been appointed to the Camden Fire Department. He was still living at 608 South 4th Street.

The 1930 Census shows the Watts and the Thompsons had moved to 305 Harvard Avenue in Collingswood, New Jersey. By the spring of 1942 the Thompsons had moved to 2818 Constitution Road.

Fear of enemy air raids in 1942 spawned a number of Federal Decrees regulating public conduct in the event of air raid warnings. One new Federal Regulation prohibited fire apparatus from using sirens in response to alarms. Under war-time regulations, sirens would be reserved exclusively for air raid warnings.

The use of audible warning devices by fire apparatus was restricted to bells only. The burden to both fire fighters and the public safety was formidable. On March 1, 1942, the inevitable happened. Engine Company 8 while responding to an alarm was involved in a collision with a ten ton truck at Third Street and Kaighn Avenue. Upon impact all of the firemen were thrown into the street. The truck driver declared that he failed to hear the bells of the approaching apparatus. The mishap resulted in injuries to six members and total destruction of the apparatus. Captain Alvin Thompson was listed in critical condition, while Firemen Mitchell Wojtkowiak, Philip Farrow, Leonard Oshushek, Lawrence Boulton and Edwin Robbins were admitted for lesser injuries. Battalion Chief Newton stated that he believed the accident might have been avoided if fire companies were not prohibited from using sirens. 

Still at 2818 Constitution Road, Alvin S. and Maola Thompson appear in the 1947 Camden City Directory. He was still serving with the Camden Fire Department, with the rank of captain.


World War I Draft Card


World War II Draft Card


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