Modest WWII vet inspires respect
COMO man Frank Thomas does not like to make a big deal about his service during World War II, but with an array of medals stretching across his chest, he is to be admired each Anzac Day.
Mr Thomas (94) first joined the Australian Infantry in 1940 and after training at Claremont Showgrounds decided to pursue a career in Army transport having a keen interest in motorcycles.
“They gave us an option of what to do, so my mate and I joined the 138th Transport Division as a truck driver but I was keen on riding motorbikes so they promoted me to lance corporal and I found myself in charge of a team of dispatch riders,” he said.
That was not enough for the young soldier who was looking for adventure and when he heard the Australian Air force (RAAF) was looking for pilots he jumped at the chance.
“We went to Victor Harbour in South Australia via a very long train journey from Perth and then to Cunderdin to train on Tiger Moths and from there they sent us to Geraldton to learn to fly Arvo Anson twin engine aircraft,” he said.
“Next thing I knew I was promoted to sergeant and sent to England to learn how to fly Wellington bombers,” he said.
Daughter Jill and son Max say they are in awe of their father’s past and recently had his medals remounted and polished ready for Anzac day.
“Dad spoke to us about his time in the war, but he never made a big deal out of it,” Jill said.
“We have heard various stories about bombing raids over Germany and action in the North Atlantic, but he never liked to talk about it too much,” she said.
She said her father was still active in the community, having lived in the South Perth area for 55 years.
“Dad still rides his bicycle to Hensman Park Tennis Club and the local shops where he is well known by everyone,” she said.
Como resident Frank Thomas with his medals earned during World War II.