Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Sergeant (Pilot) Thomas Fee, R.A.F.V.R.





Photographs:
(Top): Sergeant (Pilot) Thomas (Tom) Fee, RAFVR
[Killed whilst on flying duties, 13 April 1943]
(Middle): Headstone of Sergeant Tom Fee
[Whitehaven Cemetery, Cumbria]
(Bottom): Sgt Tom Fee remembered by his hometown
[Listed in the Whitehaven 'Book of Remembrance']


For additional information click on 'Comments' below

4 Comments:

Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

(a) Some biographical information

Thomas (Tom) Fee was born at Whitehaven, Cumberland (now Cumbria) in 1911 but spent many of his formative years growing up in North America (USA and Canada). After returning to his hometown of Whitehaven he initially worked as a builder. From this beginning he started his own building and contracting business which had a good reputation.

On 27 July 1931, at 20 years of age, Tom Fee married Miss Mabel Dawson (aged 21) at St Nicholas' Parish Church, Whitehaven (Church of England). To begin with their family home was at 2 Lonsdale Street, Bransty, Whitehaven, later moving closer to the town centre at 4 Duke Street, Whitehaven. Tom and Mabel had two daughters, Jean (born 30 June 1934) and Dorothy (born 4 April 1942). Both children were baptised at St Nicholas' Parish Church.

According to Tom Fee's obituary in 'The Whitehaven News' (Thursday 22 April 1943) Tom Fee was a Freemason. He was a member of two lodges - the Sun, Square and Compass Lodge and Henry Lodge of Mark.
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(b) Tom Fee's time in the R.A.F.V.R.

According to an official form submitted to Whitehaven Borough Council in 1947 by Mrs Mabel Fee, her husband enlisted to the R.A.F.V.R. in August 1941. Much of his flying training had taken place in the USA (California).

On returning from America Sergeant Fee was posted to Bomber Command's 101 Squadron (No 1 Group). In early 1943 101 Squadron was based at RAF Holme Spalding, East Yorkshire. Sergeant Fee was only able to obtain two short home leaves after returning from California. However, at the time of his death (13 April 1943) plans had been made for Sergeant Fee to be released from duty for a short time and attend Whitehaven's "Wings For Victory Week" to address audiences about operational flying. Sadly, this would never happen. His next, and final, return to his hometown would be for his funeral.

On Tuesday 13 April 1943 the Lancaster bomber Tom Fee was piloting developed engine trouble shortly after take-off and crashed. Tom Fee and his other six crew members were all killed. The families were informed of the deaths the following day (Wednesday 14 April). According to Sergeant Fee's obituary in the local newspaper the letters of condolence received by Mrs Fee included one from his commanding officer and some from relatives of Sergeant Fee's crew who had been killed in the same crash.
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Wednesday, 02 November, 2011  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(c) CWGC citation for Sergeant (Pilot) Tom Fee

Casualty Details

Name: FEE, THOMAS
Initials: T
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Sergeant (Pilot)
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Unit Text: 101 Sqdn.
Date of Death: 13/04/1943
Service No: 1527088
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Ward 5. Sec. J. Grave 50.
Cemetery: WHITEHAVEN CEMETERY, Cumberland (UK)
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(d) Remembrance

Sergeant Tom Fee's funeral service took place at St Nicholas' Church, Whitehaven on Saturday 17 April 1943 - the same church where he had been married almost 12 years earlier. The service was conducted by the Reverend Charles E. Nurse. There was a large congregation, including some of Tom Fee's RAF colleagues from his base and over 40 floral tributes were received.

The bearers of Tom Fee's coffin were fellow Masons from the lodges he belonged to. Afterwards, Tom Fee was laid to rest at Whitehaven Cemetery (Grave Ref.: 5 / J / 50).

Two years after his death, Mrs Fee placed the following family notice in 'The Whitehaven News' (Thursday 15 February 1945):

"Roll of Honour
Fee - In loving memory of my dear husband, Sergeant / Pilot Tom Fee, who gave his life on April 13, 1943.
Always remembered by Mabel, Jean and Dorothy."

Tom Fee is also commemorated in the WW2 Borough of Whitehaven 'Book of Remembrance' and on the St Nicholas' Church WW2 War Memorial.

Motto of 101 Squadron:
"Mens agitat molem"
("Mind over matter").
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Wednesday, 02 November, 2011  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(e) Sergeant Tom Fee's crewmates (13 April 1943)

These were Tom Fee's crewmates who were died in the same crash:
1. Sergeant (Flight Engineer) Vernon R. Ager
Casualty Details
Name: AGER, VERNON RODERICK
Initials: V R
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Sergeant (Flt. Engr.)
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force
Unit Text: 101 Sqdn.
Age: 19
Date of Death: 13/04/1943
Service No: 576419
Additional information: Son of Ernest Albert and Elizabeth Sophia, of Greenford, Middlesex.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. A. Grave 37.
Cemetery: HOLME-UPON-SPALDING MOOR (ALL SAINTS) CHURCHYARD, Yorkshire (UK)

2. Flying Officer (Navigator) Victor Cook
Casualty Details
Name: COOK, VICTOR
Initials: V
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Flying Officer (Nav.)
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Unit Text: 101 Sqdn.
Date of Death: 14/04/1943
Service No: 129353
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. H. Uncons. Grave 282.
Cemetery: CHESHAM BURIAL GROUND, Buckinghashire (UK)

3. Sergeant (Bomb Aimer / Navigator) Robert Brough
Casualty Details

Name: BROUGH, ROBERT
Initials: R
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Sergeant (Nav./Bomber)
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Unit Text: 101 Sqdn.
Age: 29
Date of Death: 14/04/1943
Service No: 1390807
Additional information: Son of Thomas and Catherine Brough, of Dunfermline;
Husband of Margaret Brough, of Dunfermline.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Eastern Division. Grave 4077.
Cemetery: DUNFERMLINE CEMETERY, Fifeshire (UK)

4. Sergeant (Wireless Operator) John Smith
Casualty Details

Name: SMITH, JOHN
Initials: J
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Sergeant (W.Op./Air Gnr.)
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Unit Text: 101 Sqdn.
Age: 24
Date of Death: 14/04/1943
Service No: 1028126
Additional information: Son of David Leo and Elizabeth Smith, of Chorley;
Husband of Marjorie Leonora Smith, of Chorley.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. E. E.C. Grave 996.
Cemetery: CHORLEY CEMETERY, Lancashire (UK)

5. Sergeant (Mid-upper Air Gunner) George W.J. Davison
Casualty Details
Name: DAVISON, GEORGE WILLIAM JOHN
Initials: G W J
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Sergeant (Air Gnr.)
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Unit Text: 101 Sqdn.
Age: 19
Date of Death: 13/04/1943
Service No: 1606469
Additional information: Son of George Thomas Davison and Minnie Davison, of Stockwell.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Block 12. Grave 704. Screen Wall. Panel 2.
Cemetery: WANDSWORTH (STREATHAM) CEMETERY, London (UK)


6. Sergeant (Rear-air Gunner).Jack Beatson
Casualty Details

Name: BEATSON, JACK
Initials: J
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Sergeant (Air Gnr.)
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Unit Text: 101 Sqdn.
Age: 21
Date of Death: 14/04/1943
Service No: 1456992
Additional information: Son of Bradley F. T. Beatson and Naomi Beatson, of Grimesthorpe, Sheffield;
Husband of Ada Ann Beatson, of Hackenthorpe, Sheffield.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. A. (Gen.). Grave 953.
Cemetery: SHEFFIELD (SHIREGREEN) CEMETERY, S. Yorkshire (UK)
-------------------------

(f) Acknowledgements:

Cumbria County Archives & Library Service
(Whitehaven Records Office)

'The Whitehaven News'

Mr Stuart Nicholson, Archivist,
Parish of Whitehaven (Church of England)

Commonwealth War Graves Commission
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Wednesday, 02 November, 2011  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

An article by one of the BBC "People's War" WW2 Site Helpers, Tom Forbes, mentions that his grandfather (also known as Tom Forbes) was a close pal of Tom Fee during the war. The two 'Toms' had spent a lot of time together while training in California.

This is the BBC "People's War" article referring to Tom Fee:

Tom Forbes People's War story

The following link is to a page on the website of the BBC "People's War" helper Tom Forbes specifically dedicated to Sergeant Tom Fee. It has a number of photographs of Tom Fee, some with his family.

Tom Fee Lancaster Pilot 101 Sqdn

Thursday, 10 November, 2011  

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