Mod­est WWII vet in­spires re­spect

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Community News -

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.

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