John Thompson was a member of Captain Thunderbolt’s first gang in 1865. During this time he was working as a bushranger in the gang alongside Mary Ann Bugg, Thomas “The Bull” Hogan and a lad called McIntosh. The gang had been operating since January in the region around the Culgoa and Bokhara rivers when Thompson joined them in February of 1865.
Thompson was involved in raids on Mogil Mogil station, Wilby Wilby station, Lloyd’s station, and Boggy Creek Inn as well as various other robberies. On 5 April Thompson joined the gang in delivering a heavily pregnant Mary Ann Bugg and her children to Tamworth where Thunderbolt procured a young Aboriginal girl to assist her. From here they robbed the Manilla mail. On 24 April Thompson was seriously wounded and captured after a gunfight by Constable Dalton at Millie Inn near Wee Waa. During the skirmish around 40 shots were fired, with Thompson recieving wounds in the left side of his jaw and neck, right side of his torso, rump and legs. The other bushrangers escaped unharmed.
Thompson was tried on two accounts of robbery under arms and managed to briefly escape from Tamworth Gaol on 10 June. After his conviction his mother applied for mitigation of his sentence while he was bounced around between Cockatoo Island, Darlignhurst Gaol, Parramatta Gaol and Berrima Gaol. After his release he returned to crime adopting the moniker Thunderbolt and would spend the majority of the remaining decades in prison before disappearing into obscurity.