Friday, September 28, 2007

Wg Cdr Thomas F.Neil DFC AFC AE 1920-



Thomas Francis 'Ginger' Neil joined the RAFVR in 1938 at the age of 18. Called up at the outbreak of war, he was posted to No.249 Squadron in May 1940 where he flew Hurricanes. During the Battle of Britain his first victory was on 7th September, closely followed by a second on 11th September, 3.5 more on 27th September, and another on 6th October. On 8th October he was awarded the DFC, and as his success continued, on 26th November he received a Bar to his DFC.

In May 1941, No.249 Squadron were posted to Malta, flying in from HMS Ark Royal. The Squadron saw almost daily action. Neil claimed another victory in June.

In December 1941, Neil was transferred and eventually became liaison officer to the US 9th Air Force's 100th Fighter Wing. After the war, he spent four years as a Service Test Pilot and has flown more than 100 types of aircraft. Serving for some years in the British Embassy in Washington.He retired from the RAF in 1964 having reached the rank of Wing Commander, he returned to America as a businessman before retiring to Norfolk.