550 Squadron Photos

F/Lt R 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 on the web-site.

- F/Lt Rhys Thomas Wartime Experiences

Sgt V R Farmer

Vic Farmer is one of a number of 550 veterans who gave an interview (in 2015) to the IBCC for their Bomber Command Digital Archive. See the IBCC Digital Archive page for links to the archive, information and the interview. Vic passed away in September 2022.