Tom was born in Glasgow in the year 1921. Educated at St. Aloysius College, Glasgow and Glasgow School of Art. Turned down for aircrew when he first applied in 1939. Tom trained and worked as sheet metal airframe fitter
on Sunderland aircraft. He finally enlisted in the RAF in March 1943.
Billetted first in London near Regent Park (messing in the Zoo!), Tom was posted to Torquay for basic training. Tom says that in addition to learning basic square bashing along the Esplanade, he learned the importance of reading DROs (Daily Routine Orders). In a cinema during an air raid, he stayed to the end and found out, only later, that he was supposed to be on fire duty on the roof of the Opera House. Charged, he managed to escape any dire consequences - except the first exposure to an air raid and, he confesses, to the demon drink.
Tom began his flight engineer training at St. Athans, in south Wales. His memories are less of the training than of the “perks” that went with assisting the Padre at mass. He received his Flight Engineer wing.
He trained at #1664 Con. Unit, Dishforth, February 1944. Crewing-up and training on Halifax Mk.Is with final check-out on MkII.
He was posted to #192 Squadron, 100 Group, Foulsham, Norfolk (Special Duties Squadron)
Tom was demobbed at Blackpool in March 1947.
He returned to Art College to complete course. Emigrated to Canada to practise Industrial Design, then into a teaching career in 1960 until retirement.
Tom writes: “Reflecting on the war .... although certainly no advocate of war, I do believe that the opportunities and experiences in war to be unique....The short but very close relationship on bomber operations .... its dependency on each other .... the loyalties engendered .... enables a young man to acquire a real sense on his own inner strengths, and a great respect for the loyalty and strength of others. Having survived, not an experience I would have missed “. February 8, 2002