Thomas, Philip Michael Hermann

“Mike” Thomas was the second son of Dr Arthur Hermann Thomas MA, LLD, of 14 Drummond Road, Worthing. His mother was Marie Louise Sophie Thomas, daughter of John Charles Andreae, of Champion Hill, SE London. At school he shot as a cadet at Bisley in 1934, and in the VIII in 1935 and (as captain) in 1936. He was also a prefect and a keen member of the house band which helped to win Palmer Cup.  He left in Sixth Book and took a third in Mechanical Science at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1939. Whilst there he spent a lot of his time flying, and was the first Hopperite to come down to Winchester for a week-end by air,  serving as a Pilot Officer in the Cambridge University Air Squadron from 1938. He was one of a number of enthusiastic gliders whose experience proved invaluable in the war.

In 1939 he was just starting his career with the engineering company, Messrs Mather & Platt, but at the declaration of war at once joined the RAFVR as a Flying Officer, gaining a rapid promotion.    At the age of twenty-two he married, on June 8th 1940, Daphne Gertrude Bryant, daughter of George William Bryant, of the Malayan Civil Service.

He first served with Bomber Command, being promoted to Flight Lieutenant in 1941, and then transferred to the Technical Branch, becoming a Squadron Leader in 1943.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists him as serving with 423 Squadron RCAF.

At the time of his death on December 5th 1943, as a passenger when flying on duty in Northern Ireland, Thomas was serving a probationary period for further promotion. The aircraft in which he was flying, Sunderland W6013 of 423 Squadron, crashed on Knocklayd Mountain in Antrim.   Pieces of the aircraft were still visible in 2004.  Thomas was only twenty-five years old when he died.  He left his widow, who lived in Hassocks, Sussex, and a daughter under a year old. He rests in grave 2.36 of Irvinestown Church of Ireland Churchyard.


War: World War 2

  • Surname: Thomas
  • Forenames or initials: Philip Michael Hermann
  • House: I
  • Years in School: 1931-1936
  • Rank: Squadron Leader
  • Regiment: RAF Volunteer Reserve
  • Date of Birth: 27th February 1918
  • Date of Death: 5th December 1943
  • How Died: Killed in an Accident
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner G2
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: Irvinestown Church of Ireland Churchyard: Grave 2.36