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6 May 2017

Sergeant Thomas Walker 1590544 RAF

 

Air Craftman 2 Thomas Walker 1590544 RAF, age 17½ years in Dec 1945.

 

Photo of Air Craftman 2 Thomas Walker, 1590544, age 17½ years, after enlistment at Doncaster, South York. His date of birth was 30 March 1925.

Initial contact with Tom Walker was made via an internet forum site when he was looking for a 462 Squadron photo. Since then via email and phone, Tom has assisted with information about the Squadron, and flight details from his logbook. He also supplied all of the photos on this page, and was able to identify some previously unknown airmen in other photos.

Tom's Service History is detailed below, as well as information on the Crew (F/O Neil Sullivan – Pilot), operations carried out by this Crew while posted to 462 Squadron, WW2 links with M.J.Hibberd, and Tom's life after the war.

I am indebted to Tom for his assistance.

Sadly, Tom's dearly loved wife Rose died on 12 February 2013. She is sadly missed by her family, and all who knew her.

Sgt Tom Walker, Pilot F/O Neil Sullivan & crew at Selby Abbey, Riccal while posted to 1658 HCU.

Sullivan's Crew while posted to 1658 HCU, Riccall, Yorkshire.

The photo was taken at the doorway arch of Selby Abbey, after dinghy training at the local swimming baths. This training was undertaken in case of their aircraft ditching at sea.

From left to right: Sgt Tom Walker (F/Eng); F/O Keith Currie (Nav); F/Sgt Bill Railton (W/Op) to rear; F/O Neil Sullivan wearing gloves (Pilot); F/Sgt Jock Lee (R/AG) to rear; F/O Arthur Cowley (B/A); F/Sgt Max Gribble (M/UG) with folded towel under his arm.

 

Sgt Tom Walker, Pilot F/O Neil Sullivan & crew at Selby Abbey, Riccal while posted to 1658 HCU.

 

Sullivan's Crew while posted to 1658 HCU, Riccall, Yorkshire.

This 2nd photo was also taken at the doorway arch of Selby Abbey, after dinghy training at the local swimming baths. Sgt Tom Walker was flicking F/Sgt Jock Lee with the towel taken from F/Sgt Max Gribble.

From left to right: F/Sgt Bill Railton (W/Op) with satchel over his shoulder; Sgt Tom Walker (F/Eng) with his back to the camera; F/Sgt Jock Lee (R/AG); F/O Neil Sullivan wearing gloves (Pilot); F/Sgt Max Gribble (M/UG).

462 Squadron Foulsham, Crew 61, F/Sgt Jock Lee, F/Sgt Bill Railton, Sgt Tom Walker, F/Sgt Max Gribble, F/O Arthur Cowley, F/O Neil Sullivan, F/O Keith Currie.

 

Sullivan's Crew after posting to 462 Squadron, Foulsham, Norfolk.

Back row, left to right: F/Sgt Jock Lee (R/AG); F/Sgt Bill Railton (W/Op); Sgt Tom Walker (F/Eng); F/Sgt Max Gribble (M/UG).

Front row, left to right: F/O Arthur Cowley (B/A); F/O Neil Sullivan (Pilot); F/O Keith Currie (Nav)

The building to the left in the background was a storeroom.

462 Squadron Foulsham, Crew 61 awaiting take-off, Sgt Tom Walker, F/Sgt Bill Railton, F/Sgt Max Gribble, F/Sgt Jock Lee, F/O Keith Currie.

Sullivan's Crew while posted to 462 Squadron, Foulsham, Norfolk.

The photo was taken outside the parachute room where they signed out parachutes for flights. In this photo the crew were awaiting take-off. Several ubiquitous bicycles can be seen. These were used for access about the Base.

From left to right: Sgt Tom Walker (F/Eng) on his back in lower left; F/Sgt Bill Railton (W/Op) facing camera; F/Sgt Max Gribble (M/UG) centre on his back with arm up; F/Sgt Jock Lee (R/AG) centre facing left; F/O Keith Currie (Nav) front right close to camera.

462 Squadron, F/Sgt Max Gribble on his Triumph Tiger 80 350cc motorcycle, with pillion F/Sgt Jock Lee, & Sgt Tom Walker beside Halifax Z5-A

Sullivan's Crew awaiting take-off in Halifax Z5-A 'Able' on 2 April 1945, destination Hamburg. Crew are wearing Mae Wests.

Seated on the Triumph Tiger 80, 350cc motorcycle Rego No CXW799 – pillion F/Sgt Jock Lee (R/AG); rider F/Sgt Max Gribble (MU/G). The motorcycle was owned by Max.

Background: Sgt Tom Walker (F/Eng) is holding a trailing aerial at the side entry to the Halifax. The other Airmen in the background are not identified.

Several trailing aerials can be seen, as well as the H2S pod under the Halifax. Parachutes are also visible inside the side entry hatch.

The Halifax is clearly identified as Z5-A. The aircraft number appears to be PN433, however the Squadron Operation Record Book (ORB – page 313) for this date lists this Crew as flying Halifax LG-432. In A.G.Batten's book (Phoenix: Book2, The Reincarnation) Halifax PN-433 in 4/45 is identified as R, but Halifax LG-432 is not included.

 

462 Squadron Foulsham, F/O Neil Sullivan, F/Sgt Max Gribble, Sgt Tom Walker beside Halifax Z5-A

 

Sullivan's Crew awaiting take-off in Halifax, Z5-A 'Able' on 2 April 1945, destination Hamburg.

Beside the Halifax, while it was being checked prior to take-off.

Left to right: F/O Neil Sullivan (Pilot); F/Sgt Max Gribble (MU/G); Sgt Tom Walker (F/Eng) closest to the side entry hatch; the person on the right closest to the camera is unidentified.

Parachutes, one with its release toggle on view, can be seen just inside the side entry hatch of the aircraft. The Squadron marking Z5 is clearly visible, as are 2 of the aerials.

462 Squadron Foulsham, Sgt Tom Walker, F/O Neil Sullivan, F/Sgt Bill Railton checking wheels under Halifax Z5-A

 

Sullivan's Crew awaiting take-off in Halifax, Z5-A 'Able' on 2 April 1945, destination Hamburg.

Under the Halifax, checking wheels, with aircraft trolley jack visible to the left.

From left: Sgt Thomas Walker (F/Eng) with his back to the camera; F/O Neil Sullivan (Pilot) partially obscured; unidentified shirt-less ground crewman with his back to the camera; F/Sgt Bill Railton (W/Op) with his back close to the camera on the right. Tom & Bill are wearing their Mae Wests.

462 Squadron Foulsham, F/Sgt Max Gribble, F/Sgt Bill Railton, F/Sgt Jock Lee beside rear turret of Halifax Z5-A

 

Sullivan's Crew awaiting take-off in Halifax, Z5-A 'Able' on 2 April 1945, destination Hamburg.

Rear turret of Halifax from left – F/Sgt Max Gribble (MU/G); F/Sgt Bill Railton (W/Op); F/Sgt Jock Lee (R/AG). All three Crew are wearing Mae Wests, with their parachutes on the ground in the front centre.

The SDO for this flight was F/Sgt E.D.Tisdell (W/OP – RAAF 432388) who was killed in action 2 weeks later.

Tom Walker in 1953, employed as Bar Manager, Meadow Bank Hotel, Rotherham (ex-Sgt RAF, and Flight Engineer, 462 Squadron RAAF, Foulsham).

Tom Walker on a Friday night in 1953,  wearing the uniform of Bar Manager, Meadow Bank Hotel, Rotherham. Several members of the Walker family, including wife Rose, worked for the Hotel. While Tom worked full time at a steel works, he also ran the 'outside catering' for the Hotel, at other venues in Rotherham and Sheffield. This photo was taken during 'outside catering' at Clifton Hall, where some nights, there were up to 1000 people dancing. One bar was run on the ground floor and another on the balcony.

 

Mrs Rose Walker, beloved wife of Tom Walker (photo in 1967, after her 42nd Birthday.)

Mrs Rose Walker, beloved wife of Tom Walker.

This is Tom's favourite photo of his wife. It was taken in 1967 after Rose had celebrated her 42nd Birthday.

They were married on 14 April 1945, while Tom was on leave away from his posting to 462 Squadron, Foulsham. Tom had celebrated his 20th birthday just two weeks prior to the wedding.

 

Tom Walker, husband of Rose, and formerly a Flight Engineer in 462 Squadron RAAF. His post-war civilian occupation was as an Engineer (1963 photo).

 

Tom Walker, husband of Rose, and formerly a Flight Engineer in 462 Squadron RAAF. His post-war civilian occupation was initially as a Civil Engineer for 4 years, followed by 34 years as an Engineer in the steel industry. This photo was taken in 1963.

Mrs Rose Walker, wife of Tom, with one of their Great Danes in the garden of their home near Doncaster.

Mrs Rose Walker, wife of Tom, with one of their Great Danes in the garden of their home near Doncaster.

Breeding and showing Great Danes was a hobby of Tom and Rose.

 

Former Sgt Tom Walker of 462 Squadron, & his wife Rose in 2004.

 

Tom Walker and his wife Rose photographed in 2004 while visiting the 7 Lakes Country Park, near to Doncaster in South Yorkshire.

 

Tom Walker (462 Squadron) at Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, Yorkshire, on Sunday 8 July 2012, in front of Halifax LV907, NP-F, known as "Friday the 13th".

 

Tom Walker at Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, Yorkshire, on Sunday 8 July 2012, in "The Canadian Memorial Hangar" (T2 Hangar, building 17).

He is standing in front of the port wheel of Halifax, LV907, NP-F, also known as "Friday the 13th". During 1944 and 1945, it was flown on Ops from Lissett, Yorkshire, by crews of 158 Squadron RAF.

 

Tom Walker (462 Squadron), wife Rose and son Gary at Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, Yorkshire, on Sunday 8 July 2012, in front of Halifax LV907, NP-F, known as "Friday the 13th".

 

Tom Walker, wife Rose and son Gary at Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, Yorkshire, on Sunday 8 July 2012, in "The Canadian Memorial Hangar" (T2 Hangar, building 17).

Similar to the previous photo, they are grouped in front of Halifax LV907, NP-F, "Friday the 13th", in front of the port inner engine, and wheel.

 

Tom Walker (462 Squadron), wife Rose and son Gary at  Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, Yorkshire, on Sunday 8 July 2012, in the NAAFI canteen for lunch.

 

Tom Walker, wife Rose and son Gary at Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, Yorkshire, on Sunday 8 July 2012, in the NAAFI canteen (Museum Restaurant, building 11) for lunch.

 

Tom Walker, former Flight Engineer and Sergeant in 462 Squadron RAAF, at Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, Yorkshire, on Sunday 8 July 2012, in the NAAFI canteen.

 

Tom Walker, former Flight Engineer and Sergeant in 462 Squadron RAAF, at Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, Yorkshire, on Sunday 8 July 2012, in the NAAFI canteen.

I was very happy to have met Tom, and his wife and son, and to be guided by him around the Museum. Of particular interest was seeing Halifax Halifax LV907, NP-F, "Friday the 13th".

During the tour and lunch, he was very helpful in giving details of life in 462 Squadron at Foulsham.

He is looking very distinguished – not bad for age 87 and 4 months.

 

Thomas Walker – Service History
Service number 1590544 RAF

Date of birth 30 March 1925 (making him 24 days younger than F/Sgt J.M.Tait and F/Sgt M.J.Hibberd in Ball's crew, who both had birth date of 6 March 1925).

14 Dec 1942 – Enlisted as 17½ year old at Doncaster, South York, straight from leaving school. (photo on this page)
Initially grouped with PNB (Pilot/Navigator/Bombardier), then transferred to Flight Engineers.

3 April 1944 – Posted to IT Wing at Somerset, RAF Base Locking, to study basic engineering.
4 July 1944 – Posted to RAF St. Athan, Glamorgan, Wales, for advanced flight engineer training in Halifax Bombers. (Flight Engineer Sgt Fred Brookes in Ball's crew also trained at this location.)
6 Dec 1944 – Promoted to Sergeant at completion of training and receipt of Engineer's Badge.

16 Dec 1944 – Posted to 1658 HCU Riccall, Yorkshire, and joined F/O Neil Sullivan's crew. (2 photos on this page, taken at Selby Abbey, after dinghy training at the local swimming baths)

7 March 1945 – Crew posted to 462 Squadron, 100 Group, Foulsham, Norfolk. (crew photo, and series of photos with Halifax Z5-A on this page)

14 April 1945 – Tom married his wife Rose while he and the rest of the Crew were on leave (from the 10th to the 19th of April). During this leave, the SDO for their flight on 02/04/25, F/Sgt E.D.Tisdell (W/OP, RAAF 432388) was killed while crewing as SDO for F/O A.M. Lodder (RAAF 426118) and his crew 44. They were flying in Halifax MZ-467 Z5-C, which departed on 16 April 1945 at 2358, on a Special Duty flight to target Augsburg, but failed to return.
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The Crew (Pilot – F/O Neil Sullivan)

This Crew 61 was in A Flight with Deputy Flight Commander Fl/Lt Edward (Ted) McGindle, whereas Ball & his Crew 59 were in B Flight with Deputy Flight Commander Fl/Lt Bruce Drinkwater.

Pilot – Flying Officer Neil Stephen SULLIVAN, 434110 RAAF, date of birth 21/10/22, age 22 years & 6 months in April 1945.
Navigator – Flying Officer Keith CURRIE, 436316 RAAF, C 11/07/13, age nearly 31 years & 9 months in April 1945.
Bomb Aimer – Flying Officer Arthur COWLEY, 50704 RAAF, date of birth 05/07/23, age 21 years & 9 months in April 1945.
Wireless Operator – Flight Sergeant Wilson Alfred RAILTON, 436211 RAAF, date of birth 09/11/13, age 31 years & 5 months in April 1945 (known as Bill).
Rear Gunner – Flight Sergeant John Cairns LEE, 430571 RAAF, date of birth 28/05/24, age 20 yrs & 11 months in April 1945 (known as Jock).
Mid-Upper Gunner – Flight Sergeant David Maxwell GRIBBLE, 431621 RAAF, date of birth 22/05/25, age 19 years & 11 months in April 1945 (known as Max).
Flight Engineer – Sergeant Thomas Walker, 1590544 RAF, date of birth 30/03/25, age 20 years & 1 month in April 1945 (known as Tom).
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Operations carried out by this Crew while posted to 462 Squadron, A Flight .
Dates, Z5 letters & targets are from Tom Walker's log book, but it does not record aircraft serial numbers. This logbook information has been cross referenced with dates, aircraft serial numbers (in brackets) & targets from 462 Squadron ORBs for March & April 1945. The ORB does not list the Z5 code for each aircraft, making it difficult to know if the aircraft scheduled to fly according to the ORB was actually flown by the crew. The Special Duty Officer (SDO) for each Op has also been identified from the Squadron ORBs, as are the departure & return times, actions and loadings.

24/03/45 Z5-O Rhine, (RG-379), SDO F/Sgt J.W.Kimber, 436523 RAAF. Departed 1840, returned 2350. Special Duty flight to the Ruhr area on a Spoof raid, with Window released. (Ball & crew 59 in Z5-S also flew on this Op with 2 SDO's – F/Sgt R.G.Irminger and F/O J.Heggarty.)

27/03/45 Z5-E Bremerhaven, (PN-432), SDO F/Sgt M.P.Toohey, 429056 RAAF. Departed 1854, returned 2340. Special Duty flight to the Bremerhaven area on a Spoof raid, with Window released. Target Indicators (T. I.'s) and Incendiaries dropped in that area. Loading:- 4 x 250lb T. I.'s, and 4 x 750lb Clusters.

02/04/45 Z5-A Hamburg, (LG-432?), SDO F/Sgt E.D.Tisdell, 432388 RAAF. Departed 2032, returned 0210 on 3rd April. Special Duty flight to the Stade area on a Spoof raid, with Window released. Bombs and T. I.'s dropped in that area. Loading:- 4 x 250 lb T. i.'s, and 4 x 500lb G.P. bombs. (Hamburg is close to Stade. The aircraft serial number in the ORB (LG-432) differs from that seen on the aircraft (PN433?) in the photos taken prior to departure, and shown on this page.)

08/04/45 Z5-J Magdeburg (MZ-431), SDO F/Sgt M.P.Toohey, 429056 RAAF. Departed 1812, returned 0120 on 9th April, landing at Tangmere. Special Duty flight to the Schönebeck area on a Spoof raid, with Window released. Flares dropped in that area. Loading:- 21 Flares. Of the 12 Halifaxes from 462 Sqdn flying on this Op, 11 landed away – 3 at Lindholme, 3 at Wickenby, and 5 at Tangmere (ORB for April, Forms 541, pages 317 to 320 inclusive.) The monthly Summary of Operations Forms 540 for April, advise that on account of low cloud at Base, all aircraft were diverted. However this report differs in that 3 landed at Lindholme, 2 at Wickenby, and the rest at Tangmere. Anecdote from Tom Walker regarding this Op – after landing at Tangmere, the Group Captain there told them to "get that aircraft off my airfield".

09/04/45 Z5-J Hamburg, (MZ-431), SDO F/Sgt V.W.Chaffer, 433195 RAAF. Departed 1953, returned 0052 on 10th April. Special Duty flight to the Stade area on a Spoof raid, with Window released.

22/04/45 Z5-F Heligoland, (MZ-429), SDO F/Sgt H.R.Willis-Jones, 431650 RAAF. Departed 2111, returned 0202 on 23rd April. Special Duty flight to the Heligoland area on a Spoof raid, with Window released. An anecdote from Tom regarding this Op – "when I returned from my wedding, we went out to the plane ready for an Op. We were waiting for orders when a vehicle came out to the plane & asked for me. It was the Adjutant. He asked me for my Next of Kin. (gulp!) I told him it was my wife. One of the crew were not happy. We were told to go to the runway. Whilst doing this the MU/AG (Max Gribble) told me that the rear entry door was jammed. (gulp!) I told him I would chop it out. We carried on, did the Op & came back safely."

24/04/45 Z5-B Munich, (MZ-396), SDO F/Sgt W.Thomson, 437601 RAAF. Departed 2147, returned 0354 on 25th April. Special Duty flight to the Munich area on a Spoof raid, with Window released.

02/05/45 Z5-Q Flensburg, (PN-192), SDO W/O J.A.Newbold, 755811 RAF. Departed 2056, returned 0150 on 3rd May. Special Duty flight to the Flensburg area on a Spoof raid, with Window released. Bombs dropped in that area. Loading:- 5 x 500lb M.C. bombs.
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Links with M.J.Hibberd during WW2
Sgt Tom Walker and crew 61 (Pilot F/O Neil Sullivan) were posted to 462 Squadron Foulsham on 7 March 1945. F/Sgt M.J.Hibberd and Crew 59 (Pilot F/O A.D.J.Ball) had already been posted there on 16 February 1945, but failed to return from ops on 10 April 1945. Although the 2 crews were therefore only in contact for about a month, Tom remembers Rear Gunner Max Hibberd, as well as Bomb Aimer Murray Frank, W/Op Ron Taylor (who was friends with W/Op Bill Railton), and Flight Engineer Fred Brookes. Tom and Fred would have met at morning Flight Engineer's meetings. The 2 crews would also become acquainted when they frequented the Sergeant's Mess. Crew 61 in Halifax Z5-O, and crew 59 in Z5-S both flew on 24 March 1945 on a spoof raid to Köln (Cologne) in the Rhine valley.
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Tom Walker – his life after the war.
After 462 Squadron was disbanded in Sept 1945, Tom was posted to RAF Bruntingford, with many other former Aircrew.

In 1946 Tom was posted to Germany for 5 months, and was located at RAF base Völkenrode, shipping vital equipment back to the UK.

Tom was demobbed on 14 April 1947 (also his 2nd Wedding Anniversary).

Tom worked as a Civil Engineer for 4 years, and as an Engineer in steel industries for 34 years.

Tom and his wife Rose live at home in South Yorkshire, not far from the East Kirkby Air Museum with its complete Lancaster, and also not far from the Elvington Air Museum where a Halifax is being rebuilt. Lincoln is about the same distance away. There are plenty of ex-Lancaster airfields in the area.

They have 3 sons, 6 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren. Tom and his youngest son have been involved in British Motor Sport (F2 stockcars, Formula 1 racing cars, & motorcycles) for the last 30 years. The family have also been involved in Show-jumping and Eventing (horses), as well as breeding and showing Great Danes. Tom and Rose celebrated their 65th Wedding Anniversary on 14 April 2010. They had previously received a congratulatory card and citation from the Queen at their Diamond Wedding Anniversary in 2005.

Mrs Rose Walker died on 12 February 2013, a few months before her 88th birthday. She and Tom had been happily married for 67 years and 10 months.

I was honoured and privileged to have met Tom and Rose Walker, and one son Gary at the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington on Sunday 8 July 2012.

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