LCol James Irving "Bing" Thompson, MiD, CD (Ret'd)

    • LCol James Irving "Bing" Thompson MiD, CD (Ret'd)
    • RCE EIIR Badge

    We regret to advise of the death of Lieutenant Colonel James Irving (Bing) Thompson, MiD, CD (Ret'd) on 10 April 2011 in Ottawa at age 92 years.

    Lt-Col Thompson was a veteran of the Second World War serving in the Royal Canadian Engineers. He played a great part in the historic development of modern mapping science. His careers included first as a Hydrographer, then as a Military Surveyor and pioneer Arctic Mapper. He also obtained prominence as a leader in developing Canada's Foreign Aid mapping program.

    Bing was born in Lynden, ON and graduated from the University of Toronto in 1939. He then began a short-lived career with the Canadian Hydrographic Service that came to an end in May 1941 when he joined the Royal Canadian Engineers. He trained for a year in surveying and photogrammetry at the Geographical Section of the General Staff at Rockcliffe before embarking overseas in May,1942. He saw service with the Canadian (Air) Survey Company, a unit that using photogrammetry, acquired map information ahead of the Allied front lines. He was Mentioned in Dispatches after the Rhine Crossing for his role in the rapid mapping of enemy territory.

    Capt Thompson returned to Canada in 1945 and entered the Directorate of Operational Research at the Department of National Defence in Ottawa. His team adopted the WWII SHORAN (Short Range Aid to Navigation) radar system for use in the accurate mapping of Northern Canada for the first time. In 1947, Maj Thompson was posted to the newly created Army Survey Establishment (ASE) in 1947 where he was responsible for developing photogrammetric techniques for employing SHORAN in northern surveys. In January 1947 he led the first Army Survey winter survey party into the North, along the coast of Hudson Bay, to map the new Fort Churchill Arctic Training area. Living and working in severe weather conditions they completed this work in two winter seasons.

    In 1953, he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and became Commanding Officer of Army Survey Establishment until 1959 after which he went on to head the External Aid Mapping Programme of the Federal Surveys & Mapping Branch.

    Friends are invited to visit at the West Chapel of Hulse, Playfair & McGarry, 150 Woodroffe Ave at Richmond Road, Friday, 6 May from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, 7 May 2011 at Glen Cairn United Church, 140 Abbeyhill Drive, Kanata at 11 a.m.