Tom was born in the UK on 21st July 1951 and served in the RAF Volunteer Reserve Training Branch (UK Air Training Corps) from 1964 until he moved to New Zealand in late 1999. During his service with the Corps he was a Squadron Commander for 12 years when he moved to become a senior Wing Staff Officer commanding 10 Squadrons and managing the staff recruitment / selection for 40 Squadrons.
On retirement from the role of ATC Director of Music he was granted permission to retain his rank of Squadron Leader in the RAFVR (T), for use in civilian life.
In September 2008 Tom gained employment in South Australia at the UniSA – School of Education as a Research Fellow and became involved with the SA Aviation Museum where our Port Adelaide Squadrons meets, and the joined the League on 20th March 2009.
Tom’s record card shows he was granted an Officer Warrant and appointed a Second Officer on 23rd August 2009. SA Wing at this time was managed by the Victoria Group.
Tom was kept very busy from mid-2009 until mid-2010 assisting with the transfer of the management of the SA Wing from Victoria Group and its resultant growth and in July 2010 Tom was appointed Acting Federal Training Officer maintaining his role as OC SA Wing. Tom’s appointment as Federal Training Commissioner was confirmed on 11th August 2011 and in March 2012 Tom was promoted to the rank of Commissioner.
Tom has been pivotal in the operation of the South Australia Wing and even after Gp.Comr. Martin Ball was appointed to command the Wing in 2013, Tom worked within the Wing as its Treasurer and also instructing at Parafield Squadron.
His work at a National level with Officer and NCO Training initiatives and the assistance with the Cadet of the Year Advisory Group is well known.
His passion for training and growth of the League is also noted.
His is on records as saying in 1996, “In these days of fierce competition we will have to recruit and retain our cadets on the basis of both our unique product and the competence of our personnel if we are to succeed in differentiating the Corps from the rest”. He was of course referring to the UK Air Training Corps but on many occasions since joining the League, this same statement has been the basis of his motivation with our Australian Air League and its training developments and initiatives and our endeavour to be the best as what we do.
Tom was awarded the Federal Certificate of Merit in March 2012.
Funeral arrangements are unknown at this time and will be advised.
All Units and Members are to observe a Period of Mourning of four (4) weeks to commence at 0001 hours on Thursday 8th September 2016 and concluding at midnight on Tuesday 5th October 2015.
During the period of mourning the following conditions, contained in the Australian Air League manual Section 10, Paragraph 32 will apply;
- Officers, Trainee Officers and Warrant Officers will wear a band of black ribbon, 38mm wide on the left sleeve, located halfway between the shoulder and elbow
- Two length of black ribbon, 24mm wide and one metre long will be fixed to the top of all Flag Spikes.
Details can be found in FRO 04/2016
Issued for and on behalf of the Council of the Australian Air League Inc.
Chief Comr Ian Rickards, LM, DSA and bar, MSA