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
July 10, 1951
Truce talks between the UN and the communists begin at Kaesŏng. The negotiations do not mark an end to the war, however; the fighting continues for two more years. In October the peace talks relocate to the village of P’anmunjŏm.
These events are taken from the Encyclopedia Britannica