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Wing Commander Tom Neil AFC, DFC & Bar, Bronze Star

Discussion in 'WWII Obituaries' started by The_Historian, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron  

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    Just heard this gentleman passed away yesterday, so don't have the proper obit yet. Will add later.
    "Tom Neil was born in Bootle on July 14th 1920. He joined the RAFVR on October 17th 1938 and began his flying training at 17 E & RFTS, Barton, Manchester. He was called up on September 2nd 1939. Neil went to 41 TW Bexhill in early November. On December 1st he was posted to 8FTS Montrose and on completion of the course he was commissioned and joined 249 (F) Squadron on May 15th 1940 at its reformation at Church Fenton.
    Flying from North Weald on September 7th, Neil claimed a Bf109 destroyed, on the 11th a Heinkel He111, on the 15th two Bf109s and a Dornier Do17 destroyed and another Dornier Do17 shared on the 18th a Heinkel He111 damaged and a Junkers Ju88 shared.
    On October 6th Neil shared a Do17, on the 25th claimed a Bf109 destroyed, on the 27th a Dornier Do17 probably destroyed, on the 28th a Ju88 shared and on November 7th a Junkers Ju87 Stuka and two Bf109s destroyed. On this day Tom Neil collided with Wing Commander F.V. Beamish during a patrol and lost his tail. He bailed out of Hurricane V7676 unhurt. Neil was awarded the DFC (08.10.40) and a bar (26.11.40) and made a Flight Commander in December. In May 1941 249 (F) Squadron went to Malta. The squadron flew off of HMS Ark Royal on the 21st. Neil leading the second group of Hurricanes. After a series of mishaps and misadventures they all reached Malta safely. On June 12th Neil destroyed a Macci 200. He left Malta on December 26th 1941 and returned to the UK via the Middle East, South Africa, West Africa and Canada finally arriving at Liverpool in early March 1942.
    Neil was posted to 81 Group as Tactics Officer. He went to 56 OUT in mid-June and on September 1st 1942 he took command of 41 (F) Squadron at Llanbedr. In July 1943 he was posted to 53 OUT, Kirton-on-Lindsey as an instructor. He later went to the 9th United States Air Force as a Flying Liaison Office with the 100th Fighter Wing. After D-Day Neil did some operational flying in France as a supernumerary. In January 1945 he was posted to the School of Land/Air Warfare at Old Sarum instructing and lecturing.
    Neil went to Burma in March 1945 flying Hurricanes with the Indian Wing on operations with No1 IAF Squadron. He returned to England and Old Sarum in April leaving there in January 1946 to go to the Empire Test Pilots course at Cranfield.
    Neil was awarded the Bronze Star (US) (2.8.49) and the AFC (2.1.56). He retired from the RAF in 1964 as a Wing Commander."
    Merlins Over Malta - The Defenders Return
     
    lwd likes this.

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