Sergeant Gordon Ronald THOMAS

Service No: 417011
Born: Norwood SA, 24 February 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 8 November 1941
Unit: No. 22 Squadron
Died: Air Raid (Prisoner of War from the loss of No. 22 Squadron Boston aircraft A28-15 on 12 September 1943), New Britain, 5 March 1944, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Rabaul (Bita Paka) War Cemetery, PNG
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Arthur Gordon and Daisy Suttana Thomas, of West Croydon, South Australia.
Roll of Honour: Adelaide SA
Remembered: Panel 101, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

On 12 September 1943 while making an attack on enemy shipping south of New Britain, Boston A28-15 was hit by anti-aircraft fire and forced to ditch near Gasmata. The three crew members were observed to board a life raft apparently uninjured. The observing aircraft had to leave the area soon after the ditching, but extensive searches were later carried out with no successful result.

The crew members of A28-15 who were all from South Australia were:

Flight Lieutenant Harry Blinman Dawkins (280791) (Pilot) PoW, Died 22 July 1944
Sergeant Douglas George Semple (26741) (Wireless Air Gunner) Died 12 September 1943
Sergeant Gordon Ronald Thomas (417011) (Wireless Air Gunner) PoW, Died 5 March 1944

Eight RAAF members were killed in an air raid on Rabual on 5 March 1944 in which the Prisoner of War Camp was hit. These members are:

Corporal John Fenwick (22532) (No. 11 Squadron)
Flight Sergeant Donald Clarence Kirkwood (21714) (No. 30 Squadron)
Sergeant Ernest Hubert Kraehe (27791) (No. 11 Squadron)
Flight Sergeant Henry Laurence Murphy (412621) (No. 11 squadron)
Flying Officer Frank Ronald Pocknee (401663) (No. 11 Squadron)
Flight Sergeant Gordon Ronald Thomas (417011) (No. 22 Squadron)
Flight Sergeant Colin Esbert Wein (414975) (No. 30 Squadron)
Sergeant Fred Woolley (43098) (No. 11 Squadron)


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9845, 216

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