Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Vice-Marshal R B Thomson (90370)

Ronald Bain                  b: 15 Apr 1912                     r: 1 Sep 1966                     d: 6 Dec 1984

CB 13 Jun 1959, DSO 14 May 1943, DFC 14 Sep 1943, MiD - 11 Jun 1942.

(AuxAF) Plt Off: 4 Sep 1937, Fg Off : 4 Mar 1939, Act Flt Lt: 30 Jul 1940, Flt Lt: 2 Oct 1940, (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Dec 1941 Act Wg Cdr: 16 Feb 1943?, Sqn Ldr (WS): 16 Aug 1943,

(RAF) Sqn Ldr: 2 Jun 1947 [9 Mar 1943], Wg Cdr: 1 Nov 1947 [1 Oct 1946], Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1952, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1958, Act AVM: 7 Jul 1960, AVM: 1 Jan 1962.

xx Jun 1937:            U/T Pilot, No 612 (County of Aberdeen) Sqn. AuxAF

 4 Sep 1937:            Pilot, No 612 (County of Aberdeen) Sqn. AuxAF. (Hector/Anson)

2 - 13 Aug 1938:     Attached to No 217 Sqn, RAF Tangmere

 2 Oct 1939:            Reported for duty on call up

22 - 28 Oct 1939:           Attached to No 269 Sqn

 6 Nov 1939 - 2 Feb 1940:           Attended School of General Reconnaissance, RAF Thorney Island

 30 Jul 1940:             Officer Commanding, 'C' Flight, No 612 (County of Aberdeen) Sqn. (Anson/Whitley V/VII)

10 - 21 Nov 1940:     Attended Whitley Conversion Course, No 19 OTU

xx xxx xxxx:             Flight Commander, No 172 Sqn (Wellington?)

16 May 1943:          Officer Commanding, No 206 Sqn. (Fortress)

22 Mar 1944:

1944 - 49                ?

 2 Jun 1947:            Appointed to a Permanent Commission in the  rank of Squadron Leader.

16 May 1949:          SASO, AHQ Ceylon.

1950 - 55                ?

 2 Apr 1955:            Air Staff - Operations, HQ Coastal Command.

20 May 1958:          AOC, AHQ Gibraltar.

xx xxx xxxx:             AOC, RAF Gibraltar.

 7 Jul 1960:              AOC, No 18 (Reconnaissance) Group/AOC, Scotland.

 7 Jul 1960:            Air Commander, Northern Sub-Area Eastern Atlantic Area, Atlantic Command.

 1 Mar 1963:            AOA, HQ Flying Training Command.

A lecturer in Physical Education and Hygiene, he joined the newly formed 612 Squadron of the Auxiliary Air Force in 1937 becoming the first recruit to gain his 'Wings' and be commissioned.  By 1939, he was Senior Lecturer at Pretoria Technical College in South Africa.  Returning to Britain on the outbreak of war?, he rejoined 612 and remained with them until he had become a flight commander in the rank of Squadron Leader.

On 11 June 1943, he attacked and sunk the U417, but his aircraft was badly damaged and he lost two engines requiring him to make a force landing at sea.  His crew successfully evacuated the aircraft and scrambled aboard their dinghy.  They were quickly located and a number of attempts to drop supplies to them was made before they were eventually rescued by a Catalina flown by Sqn Ldr Holmes after 3 days afloat.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order

Squadron Leader Ronald Bain THOMSON (90370), Auxiliary Air Force, No.172 Squadron.

During recent anti-submarine operations, this officer has achieved several successes.  Towards the end of March,1943, he successfully attacked a U-boat and,3 days later he accomplished a similar feat.  On the latter occasion he pressed home his attack in the face of heavy opposing fire, straddling the U-boat with his depth charges.  One night in April,1943, Squadron Leader Thomson successfully attacked an enemy submarine with depth charges and, some 20 minutes later he attacked another one with machine-gun fire.  This officer has displayed exceptional skill and devotion to duty, setting an inspiring example to the squadron he commands.

(London Gazette 14  May 1943)

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Acting Wing Commander Ronald Bain THOMSON, D.S.O. (90370), Auxiliary Air Force, No. 206 Squadron.

Acting Flight Lieutenant John Forbes CLARK (106550), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No 206 Squadron.

Flying Officer John Linsley  HUMPHRIES (133343), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No.206 Squadron.

These officers were captain, navigator and wireless operator respectively of an aircraft engaged on an anti-submarine patrol in June, 1943 During the flight a large submarine was sighted 'and promptly attacked.  In the face of  withering ,fire from the vessel, which took violent evading action, Wing Commander Thomson executed a devastating attack.  The U-boat was extensively damaged and, as it sank, many of its crew were left in the  water.  Wing Commander Thomson's aircraft had been repeatedly hit and, soon after the engagement had terminated, he was forced to bring it down on to the sea.  Flight Lieutenant Clark and Flying Officer Humphries who throughout the fight displayed great devotion to duty, coolly remained at their posts almost to the last moment.  On impact with the water, Flight Lieutenant Clark sustained injuries to his back ,but succeeded in scrambling aboard the dinghy with his comrades.  For 3 days, in bad weather they drifted before being rescued. During this trying period they displayed great fortitude.  These officers have participated in a large number of sorties and have displayed outstanding efficiency and unswerving devotion to duty.

(London Gazette 14 September 1943)

This page was last updated on 26/05/22

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