A new series of paintings and drawings
depicting the events of one day in the wartime flying career of Flight
Lieutenant Alex Thom DFC.
On the 19th of August 1942, Alex Thom was to fly his
Hurricane of No.87 Squadron over the English Channel to Dieppe to support the
beach landings of troops. His Hurricane, carrying the code LK-M, was hit
by ground fire and lost oil pressure. Thom managed to coax the aircraft
back across the Channel and made a forced landing at the first airstrip he
could get to, his battered Hurricane now out of action. He was ferried
to 87 Squadron's own airfield in a Master aircraft and immediately got in
another Hurricane. Setting off for Dieppe, this time in Hurricane LK-A,
he managed to provide useful support for the troops on the ground.
These pencil drawings by David Pentland, and the acrylic
painting by Ivan Berryman, bring to life the recollections of Alexander
Thom. Each of the pencil drawings is also personally signed by Alexander
Alexander Thom DFC - A Day over
Alex Thom in Hurricane LK-M encounters ground fire while over the landing
beaches at Dieppe.
Alex Thom's damaged Hurricane finally crosses the south coast of England.
A Master ferries Thom back to his own airfield where he will take
Hurricane LK-A back to Dieppe.
Now over Dieppe in Hurricane LK-A, Alex Thom harries a German column as
they head to repel the Allied landings.
|Flight Lieutenant Alex Thom DFC|
Born in Perth, Scotland, Alex Thom joined the RAFVR on June 24th 1939 and flew at the weekends at 11 EARFTS Perth. At the outbreak of World War Two, Thom was called up for full time service with the Royal Air Force and was posted to 3 ITW at Hastings on October 2nd 1939, moving to 15 EFTS at Redhill on April 29th 1940 and on June 15th moved again to 15 FTS, initially at Brize Norton and later to Chipping Norton. Alex Thom went to 6 OTU on September 29th at Sutton Bridge where he converted to Hawker Hurricanes and joined 79 squadron stationed at Pembury only for a short period when he was transferred to 87 Squadron on October 6th 1940, moving with the squadron on the 31st of October to their new base at Exeter. He achieved the rank of Pilot Officer on the 3rd of December 1941. During his time at Exeter he was also based on the Scilly Isles and on one occasion after shooting down an enemy bomber the crew bailed out over the sea. Alex Thom circled the downed German crew who were in a life raft until a motor launch came and picked them up. Thom would later meet the crew and was given a flying helmet by the German pilot, an item he still has today. Alex Thom was appointed B Flight commander on 10th July 1942 and was awarded the DFC on the 14th August 1942. At this time he was credited with two enemy aircraft destroyed and a probable He111. On the 19th of August 1942 while supporting the ground forces at Dieppe, his Hurricane (LK - M) was hit by ground fire and lost oil pressure. He managed to limp back to England where he made a forced landing at East Den. Thom managed to get back to his airfield as a passenger in a Master flown by Flt Sgt Lowe and immediately took off again in Hurricane (LK - A) back to Dieppe where he proceeded to strafe enemy positions. On the 1st of October 1942 he became F/O. In November 1942, 87 Squadron was transferred to North Africa. They were transported by ship to Gibraltar where the squadron flew sorties, and then onto North Africa. Thom was posted away from the squadron to be a flying control officer at Bone. He returned to 87 Squadron which was then based at Tongley and took command on June 27th 1943. He was again posted away from the squadron on September 27th returning to the UK with the Rank of Flight Lt. Thom became an instructor with 55 OTU at Annan on November 17th moving to Kirton in Linsay on March 12th 1944 to join 53 OTU. He was appointed Flight Commander Fighter Affiliation Flight at 84 (Bomber) OTU at Husbands Bosworth on May 19th 1944 and remained there until October 10th when he went to RAF Peterhead as Adjutant. His final posting was to HQ13 Group, Inverness on May 8th 1945 as a Staff Officer and retired from the RAF on December 4th 1945 as a Flight Lt.
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