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The Airmen's Stories - F/O T W Gillen


Thomas William Gillen was born in early 1914 in Belfast and joined the RAFO in May 1937. He went for a course at 8 FTS Montrose on 21st August, after which he returned to the reserve.

Called up on 2nd September 1939, Gillen was posted to 11 Group Pool before being posted to 615 Squadron nine days later.

He then went on to the newly-formed 152 Squadron at Acklington on 2nd October. He was one of four pilots detailed to form a defence flight at Sumburgh, Shetlands arriving on 25th November 1939.

He was still there when it was renamed the Fighter Flight Sumburgh on 5th January 1940. On the 1st August the flight was posted to Roborough and re-designated 247 Squadron, its new role was the defence of Plymouth dockyards. They were still equipped with Gladiators.



Above: at Sumburgh

L to R: F/O RA Winter, F/Lt. FM Thomas, F/O TW Gillen


Gillen's subsequent service is currently undocumented but he survived the war and was released from the RAF in 1948 as a Wing Commander.

He died in 1969.




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