Thompson, Edward Charles (1851–1933), surgeon and politician, was born 1 April 1851 near Omagh, Co. Tyrone, second son of Henry Thompson, surgeon, and his wife Nannie, daughter of Edward Blake, DL, of Caslegrove, Co. Mayo. He was educated at the Royal School, Raphoe, Co. Donegal, and at TCD, graduating as MB and FRCS (1871). He served in the Royal Navy as a surgeon (1872–4), during which time he won two medals for saving life: the Albert Medal and the St John of Jerusalem medal. In 1875 he succeeded his father as surgeon to the Tyrone county hospital, serving approximately fifty-three years in that position, working for a time as visiting and consulting physician for Tyrone and Fermanagh asylum, and carrying on an extensive private practice. He unsuccessfully contested the constituency of Tyrone Mid as a unionist in the general election of July 1892, being defeated by the anti-Parnellite nationalist Matthew Joseph Kenny (1861–1942); he stood for the same constituency as a liberal unionist candidate in the general election of July 1895 and was defeated by anti-Parnellite nationalist George Murnaghan (qv). In a by-election for the Fermanagh North constituency in November 1898 he stood as an independent unionist but lost again, this time to unionist candidate E. M. Archdale (qv), not before criticising the manner in which Archdale had gained the unionist party's nomination. One of the proudest moments of his life came with the construction of a new county hospital in Omagh in 1899, which was one of the finest provincial hospitals in Ireland and was built mainly through his influence.
He finally became an MP when he was unopposed as nationalist candidate in Monaghan North at a by-election that had been scheduled for 21 December 1900. Some time later, when it was learned that the British had lost a battle in the Boer war, nationalist MPs cheered at the news in the commons. Thompson not only refused to join his colleagues in welcoming the news but publicly condemned their behaviour. Despite calls for his resignation he remained MP for Monaghan North till the next general election (January 1906), when he decided to retire from Westminster politics. He served as a doctor in the first world war, working as commandant of the Belgian field hospital in Flanders (1914–15), and as surgeon major in the RAMC Reserve assigned to the North Irish Horse, winning the 1914 Star, general service medal, and victory medal. At different times, he wrote pamphlets on hygiene, vaccination, and medical education, The trial of the Maguires, and articles for different medical journals. He served as president of the NI branch of the British Medical Association and the association of fellows of the RCSI in Dublin. At some stage he was also a member of Omagh urban council and the technical instruction committee. He was appointed DL for Co. Tyrone in 1916 and sheriff of the county in 1925. On his retirement he wrote (1928–33) a weekly column, ‘London letter’, for the Tyrone Constitution. His impact was to a considerable extent limited to the south Ulster area, where he was deeply respected, not least because of his compassionate attitude towards poorer patients, for whom he frequently waived medical fees. His success as a politician was limited: he had failed to be elected MP on three successive occasions, only became one as a result of being unopposed, and then fell out with his party and constituents some time later. He was, however, virtually unique in striving to be an MP for both the unionist and nationalist parties, and his work as a parliamentarian proved relatively successful: he managed to get a clause inserted in a local government act which afterwards helped county hospitals to secure more funding, and he also rendered considerable service to George Wyndham (qv) in the passing of the 1903 land purchase act, under which many estates in Ireland were sold to tenants on favourable terms. His principal residences were outside Omagh and at Park Avenue, East Sheen, Surrey, where he lived in 1928–33. He married first Diana (d. 7 Nov. 1877), youngest daughter of Col. Francis Ellis of Omagh, in 1877; secondly Dorothea Selina (d. 1928), eldest daughter of Col. G. P McClintock of Seskinore, Co. Tyrone; and thirdly Miss Clarke of Portrush, Co. Antrim. He died in East Sheen on 20 January 1933 and was survived by his last wife, one son, and two daughters.