AR banner
Search Tips Advanced Search
Back to Top

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
Check our Research databases: Database List


We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the Helpdesk.

Central Gunnery School Spitfire IIa P7678 F/O. Thomas

Operation: Training

Date: 09th April 1943 (Friday)

Unit: No. Central Gunnery School. 25 Group

Type: Spitfire IIa

Serial: P7678

Code: -

Base: RAF Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire

Location: Tholomas Drove

Pilot: F/O. Gordon Griffith Thomas NZ/403999 RNZAF Age 25. Killed


Whilst practising stern attacks on a Wellington some 10 miles southwest of Wisbech.

The Spitfire dived vertically into the ground at Tholomas Drove and caught fire, killing the pilot.

It is thought that the pilot blacked out after entering the dive.

Burial and other details:

F/O. Gordon Griffith Thomas. Sutton Bridge (St Matthew) Churchyard. Sec. P. Grave 44. Born on the 13th of March 1918 in Te Awamutu. Educated at Auckland Grammar School. A chart clothing cutter for Cambridge Clothing Factory Limited in Auckland. Enlisted at Levin as a pilot under training on the 27th of October 1940. With No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School on the 23rd November 1940. No. 3 Service Flying Training School 18th January 1941. Mid-air collision with another on the 04th March 1941, pilot uninjured (1). The pilot badge was awarded on the 10th March 1941 and promoted to sergeant on the 12th of April 1941.

Embarked for England on the 29th of April 1941. With No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre 29th June 1941. 61 Operational Training Unit 30th September 1941 for training on the Spitfire. 603 squadron on the 19th of November where he carried out 9 operational sorties. 486 squadron on the 09th March 1942, 112 operational sorties. commissioned on the 22nd of May 1942. Attached to Central Gunnery School for instructor training 15th March 1943. Credited with 1 e/a destroyed and 1 shared destroyed. 604 flying hours logged with 75 on the Spitfire. 121 operational sorties completed.

Son of Thomas Dalrymple Thomas (died 20th October 1931, age 54) and Elizabeth Mason Thomas (née Gordon) of Epsom, Auckland, New Zealand

(1) Hind II NZ1507 flown by LAC. Evan Roy Archer also with 3 SFTS, LAC Archer lost his life but LAC Thomas made a forced landing and was uninjured. Further details here.

Above L-R: On wing; R.D Fairbrother, K.K Moore (both ground crew).
Standing; Vaughan Charles Fittall NZ/411873, Leslie Vincent Weir NZ/412294 ✞, Keith Granville Taylor-Cannon NZ/412284 ✞, Arthur Ernest Umbers NZ/494003 ✞, C.L.C Roberts (Commanding Officer), Harvey Nelson Sweetman NZ/40992, Gerald Edmond Rawson NZ/40493 ✞, Norman Edward Preston NZ/41937 ✞, Roderick Herbert Fitzgibbon NZ/411874 ✞, Brian Connatt Thompson NZ/412285, Arthur John Woodgate NZ/412300 ✞.
Front; T. Ness (Adjutant), Howard Charles Saward NZ/411943 ✞, Gordon Griffith Thomas NZ/403999 ✞, Charles Norman Gall NZ/411492, Frank Murphy NZ/411928, Ian Dousland Waddy NZ/402915, Leo Walker NZ/412290, Raymond Ignatius Phillips NZ/402893 ✞, Robert James Dall NZ/41535 ✞.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot, thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 22-08-2022

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
Click any image to enlarge it

Click to add your info via ticket on Helpdesk •Click to let us know via ticket on Helpdesk• Click to buy research books from Amazon •Click to explore the entire site
If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.

A word from the Editor: your contribution is important. We welcome your comments and information. Thanks in advance.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2024
Last Modified: 22 August 2022, 21:44

Monitor Additions/Changes?Click to be informed of changes to this page. Create account for first monitor only, thereafter very fast. Click to close without creating monitor