My father completed his flying training in the Union of South Africa in 1951. After that, he started conversion courses to qualify flying Spitfires (MK IX), Mustang (P51-D) and de Havilland Vampires (DH 100). After weapons training he completed his flight simulator training in Canada, to fly the F86 Sabre.
In 1952 he was accepted as volunteer to go and fight against the oppression of the South Korean people and to halt Communist expansion. Upon arrival in Korea, he joined 2 Sqn of the South African Air Force, the Flying Cheetahs, stationed at K55.
The photo is of my Dad’s assigned F86 Sabre which he named Tomtit. Numbering L 606. After several combat sorties (72) over the next year, he was shot down on the 21 June 1953 and taken POW by the Chinese.
He was released soon after the signing of the Armistice and returned to South Africa. He decided to make the South African Air Force his career. He retired in 1986, holding the rank of Brigadier, currently referred to as Brigadier General. The American equivalent of a one star General.
After many years enjoying his pension, he passed away in April 2013. Surviving him are his 1st born son, George Thom. 2nd Born son , Alan Thom and last born daughter, Lynette Williams (nee Thom). He had three grand children; George Thom (3rd), Jean Williams and Stephanie Thom.
Lt George Thom's: POW Story
You can read my Dad’s experience as POW in the book Titled, South Africa’s Flying Cheetahs in Korea, by Dermot Moore (Author), Peter Bagshawe (Author). ISBN-10 : 1874800154.
Korean War - Key Events
April 25, 1951
Vastly outnumbered UN forces check the Chinese advance on Seoul at the Battles of Kapyong and the Imjin River. Two Commonwealth battalions—the 2nd Battalion of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Regiment and the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment—rebuff an entire Chinese division at Kapyong, and 4,000 men of the British 29th Brigade stage a successful delaying action against nearly 30,000 troops of the Chinese 63rd Army at the Imjin River. Some 650 men of the 1st Battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment (the “Glorious Glosters”), engage in a Thermopylae-like stand against more than 10,000 Chinese infantry at Imjin. Although the overwhelming majority of the Glosters are killed or captured, their sacrifice allows UN forces to consolidate their lines around the South Korean capital.
These events are taken from the Encyclopedia Britannica
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