Airborne Engineers Association

Hal Thomas

 

 

Capt. David Hamlyn (Hal) Thomas

 

Hal was the youngest of 3 brothers, was born in Llandeilo, near Carmarthen, South Wales in May 1918, where he attended the local schools and went on to study for a BSc in Civil Engineering at Swansea University.

Following completion of his degree, he joined Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners as a junior engineer and worked on the development of ammunitions factories in Bristol. However, with the advent of World War 2, he joined the newly formed Airborne Engineers and was commissioned into 6th Airborne Division in 1942.

On the eve of D-Day, Lieutenant Thomas of 591 Parachute Squadron, was dropped behind enemy lines with his team from 1 Troop, with the task of clearing the landing fields for airborne gliders due in at dawn the next day.

During this mission, he was wounded and shipped back to Southampton to recover, following which he was promoted to second in command of 1st Airborne Squadron and sent to Oslo, to support the liberation of Norway and eventually the War in Europe.

On his return to the UK, his squadron was preparing to fly out for an airborne assault on Singapore to end the war with Japan, however, two weeks prior to departure the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and the war in the Far East was finally over. He was then transferred to Palestine, where 18 months later, he returned to the UK to complete his wartime service. He continued parachuting and joined the Airborne TA unit in Edinburgh, as second in command for five years.

Hal then returned to 'Civvy Street' where as a qualified engineer, he rejoined his former employer and became actively involved with numerous engineering projects in the UK and latterly overseas in Europe and Africa. He finally retired as co-director of his own company, Development Management Ltd in 1983. He lived his family life with Florence (whom he had met and married in 1952), together with his 3 children, in Radlett, Hertfordshire for 22 years, following which he moved from the family home to rebuild a smaller home in the same area where he lived with Florence, for a further 27 years.

 

 

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