550 Squadron Photos

F/Lt A Thomas DFC and Crew

The F/Lt Thomas crew were posted to 550 Sqdn from No. 1 L.F.S. Hemswell on 24.5.44:

Pictured below the F/Lt Thomas crew:

Click image L-to-R: groundcrew, groundcrew, groundcrew, Sgt Farmer (Nav), Sgt Wilkins (W/Op), F/Lt Thomas (P), F/Sgt Stack (A/B), Sgt Beardmore (F/Eng), Sgt Curtis (R/AG), Sgt Cronk (MU/AG)

The caption says: "Photo taken on 18.9.44. The day after crew finished their tour of Operations".
And indeed on 17th they flew their op in ND972
Thanks to Adam Thomas (grandson of F/Lt Thomas) for positive identification of his grandfather.

F/Lt Thomas is variously identified a P/O R Thomas, F/O R Thomas and F/Lt A Thomas throughout the ORB (hence, most probably, the notation on the photos). But R - Rhys - Thomas is confirmed both by family and the London Gazette (links below).
Sgt Beardmore is variously identified as S F, H F or S S Beardmore in the ORB, and "Jimmy" features for some reason on the annotated photo.
Sgt Farmer is variously identified as V F and G R in the ORB, but the name "Vic" has been mentioned by several sources.
Finally Sgt Wilkins is variously identified as E J and R J throughout the ORB, and indeed the annotated photo adds B J to the mix!

Click image F/Lt Thomas and crew on ND972 (BQ-X, X-Ray)
Thanks to Adam Thomas for positive identification of his grandfather.
Click image Identification unclear
There are two copies of this photo:
i) on the sleeve for one the statement is "F/L Thomas on motorbike"
ii) on the rear of the other photo is written "S/Ldr? ? Flight" (and no name)
The man on the bike does not look like the man identified as F/Lt Thomas in either of the other two crew photos above (no moustache)
Thanks to Adam Thomas - the man in this photo is identified as definitely NOT F/Lt Thomas. So the mystery remains.

F/Lt Thomas DFC

Notices from the London Gazette on appointments and citations:

The following brief biography was received from Bryan Thomas (Rhys's son). Thanks to Bryan for permission to publish this online.

- F/Lt Rhys Thomas Wartime Experiences