Grandfather and Tom Fee - can be seen together in many photographs
in California. They first met at the Initial Training Wing at
Newquay and together were posted as cadet pilots to No.6 British
Flight Training School in California in December 1941.
the Summer of 2002 I was very fortunate to make contact with
Tom Fee's eldest daughter Jean (the little girl in the above
photograph!). We were able to share memories and photographs
and Jean very kindly lent me her father's log book and an original
copy of 'Salute' - a magazine written by the airmen of No. 2
BFTS for their comrades.
probably at the Pace's house
Thomas Fee was born in Whitehaven, Cumbria. Soon after the family
emigrated to Pennsilvania, America for 7 years but returned
to Whitehaven when Tom was 14 years of age.
was a bricklayer, taking extra exams at 21 years to become a
builder. Around this age he spent some time with his Grandma
in Canada, coming home to marry Mabel.
like my grandfather started training in California in December
1941 initially flying Stearmans. In January Tom flew his first
supervised solo and on March 19 he flew searching for lost aeroplanes!
In May he started flying the advanced AT6 and after 200 hours
of Dual, Solo and Night flying - initial training was completed
and Tom graduated in June 1942.
with ? and Alan Pace and Alex Rennie
in a barrel!
America both Tom and my grandfather enjoyed wonderful hospitality
with the Pace, Rennie, Bottomley and Bloomhurst families. Tom
was close to the Pace family. Jean remembers very well her mother
sending to Mr and Mrs Pace's son Alan, Tom's Polaris scroll
and wallet as they had got on so well together.
also remembers that all families were in the war effort, children
too. She made bead dolls and sold them to her mothers friends,
she also made one each for my grandfather and her father and
sent them off feeling very important.
two Tom's and their American friends
On his return to England more training followed ending in a
posting to 101 Squadron, a 1 Group front line Lancaster squadron,
in April 1943. His crew comprised of Vernon Ager (Flight Engineer),
Vincent Cook (Navigator), Robert Brough (Bomb Aimer), John Smith
(Wireless Op), George Davison (Mid Upper Gunner) and Jack Beatson
On the 13 April 1943 fate intervened when their Lancaster developed
engine trouble after take off and crashed near the airfield
tragically killing all on-board.
Thomas Fee - RAFVR