Thomas, or Tim as he was known to his mates, was born in Beaudesert in Queensland on the 24th March 1920. In 1940, Tim joined the Army and was in the 42nd Battalion. At the same time, he had applied to join the RAAF, and after 6 months in the Army he was notified of his acceptance and left the Army.
Tim started with the RAAF on the 4th June 1940 and did his initial training at Sandgate, Queensland. He was then posted to Ascot Vale, Victoria, to do a course, and he became a Fitter 2A (Air Frame). Later on, he was posted to Strathpine, Queensland, where he joined RAF 548 Squadron in late 1943. He served in the Squadron, at Darwin, until the end of the war, and was discharged on the 13th December 1945. The photo was possibly taken at Strathpine, courtesey of Tony Porter. Tim is in there, somewhere.
458 squadron was formed at Lawnton near Brisbane on the 15th December 1943 to provide air defence duties with Spitfires, as the RAAF Kittyhawks were inadequate for interception missions against the Japanese. The first months were spent training with Wirraways and de Havilland Tiger Moths, but in April 1944 the squadrons Spitfire’s arrived. The squadron was made up of RAF Aircrew and Groundstaff. On the 15th June 1944, the Squadron moved initially to Livingstone Airfield and then Strauss Airfield in the Northern Territory. It was then relocated in October 1944 to Parap Airfield at Darwin. Only two operations were undertaken by the Squadron before the Japanese surrender. A sweep was conducted over Selaru Island, 300 miles north of Darwin, on the 5th September 1944 and the airfield at Cape Chater, Timor, was attacked on the 3rd June 1945.
After the War, he joined Australian National Airways (ANA) in Melbourne and later returned to Brisbane and worked for Qantas. After returning to the Mackay area, Tim was involved in the motor car industry and service stations. He moved to Chelona in 1972, where he built his home and owned the Mobil service station, which he worked until his retirement.
Tim was married to Myrtle (deceased) for 51 years and is survived by one son and two daughters. Thomas William Jones, of Chelona via Mackay, Queensland, passed away on the 26th October 2001, aged 81.
The Spitfire Association