Thomas Rose (RAF officer)

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Thomas Rose
Nickname(s) "Tommy"
Born(1895-01-27)27 January 1895
Chilbolton, Hampshire
Died 20 June 1968(1968-06-20) (aged 73)
Alderney, Channel Islands
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1917–1927
Rank Flight Lieutenant
Unit No. 64 Squadron RFC
No. 43 Squadron RAF
Battles/wars World War I
  Western Front
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross
Other work Test pilot

Thomas Rose DFC (27 January 1895 – 20 June 1968) was a British flying ace in World War I, credited with 11 victories. [1] Better known as "Tommy" Rose, he also won the King's Cup Air Race in 1935 and from 1939–45 was Chief Test Pilot with Phillips & Powis Aircraft Ltd. – renamed Miles Aircraft Ltd. in 1943.

Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom) military decoration of the United Kingdom

The Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers, and since 1993 to other ranks, of the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and other services, and formerly to officers of other Commonwealth countries, for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy".

Flying ace distinction given to fighter pilots

A flying ace, fighter ace or air ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down several enemy aircraft during aerial combat. The actual number of aerial victories required to officially qualify as an ace has varied, but is usually considered to be five or more.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.


World War I

Rose joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1917 and was posted to No. 64 Squadron later that year, flying DH.9s. The squadron was involved in the Battle of Cambrai in a ground-strafing role. It subsequently re-equipped with SE5as, which led to greater involvement in aerial combat. He was awarded the DFC in November 1918, having become a deputy flight commander. [2]

Royal Flying Corps former air warfare service of the British Army

The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was the air arm of the British Army before and during the First World War, until it merged with the Royal Naval Air Service on 1 April 1918 to form the Royal Air Force. During the early part of the war, the RFC supported the British Army by artillery co-operation and photographic reconnaissance. This work gradually led RFC pilots into aerial battles with German pilots and later in the war included the strafing of enemy infantry and emplacements, the bombing of German military airfields and later the strategic bombing of German industrial and transport facilities.

No. 64 Squadron RAF

No. 64 Squadron was a squadron of the Royal Air Force. It was first formed on 1 August 1916 as a squadron of the Royal Flying Corps. It was disbanded on 31 January 1991 at RAF Leuchars.

Airco DH.9 bomber aircraft

The Airco DH.9 – also known after 1920 as the de Havilland DH.9 – was a British single-engined biplane bomber developed and deployed during the First World War.

Later military service

Following the end of the war, Rose became a flight commander with No. 43 Squadron, RAF, serving from 1925–1927.

No. 43 Squadron RAF

No. 43 Squadron was a Royal Air Force aircraft squadron originally formed in 1916 as part of the Royal Flying Corps. It saw distinguished service during two world wars, producing numerous "aces". The squadron last operated the Panavia Tornado F3 from RAF Leuchars, Scotland, in the air defence role, until it was disbanded in July 2009.

Civil aviation career

After leaving the RAF with the rank of flight lieutenant, Rose worked in aviation first taking a job at Brooklands in charge of Britain's first petrol station for aeroplanes which was opened there by the Anglo-American Oil Company in April 1927. In 1930 he gave several public aerobatic displays at Brooklands. He enjoyed notable success in air racing when he won the prestigious Kings Cup Air Race in 1935, flying the prototype Miles M.3 Falcon G-ADLC. The following year, in the same aircraft Rose gained the U.K to Cape Town passage record, at 3 days 17 hours and 38 minutes. [3]

Brooklands race track

Brooklands was a 2.75-mile (4.43 km) motor racing circuit and aerodrome built near Weybridge in Surrey, England, United Kingdom. It opened in 1907 and was the world's first purpose-built motor racing circuit as well as one of Britain's first airfields, which also became Britain's largest aircraft manufacturing centre by 1918, producing military aircraft such as the Wellington and civil airliners like the Viscount and VC-10.

Initially joining Phillips & Powis Aircraft Ltd (later Miles Aircraft Ltd) as sales pilot and flying instructor at Woodley Aerodrome near Reading, Berkshire, he became the company's Chief Test Pilot after the unexpected death of Bill Skinner in 1939 and remained in that position throughout World War II. He made the first flights of the Miles M.20/2 fighter (on 15 September 1940), Miles 'X' Minor (February 1942); Miles M.25 Martinet (24 April 1942), Miles M.33 Monitor (5 April 1944) and Miles M.57 Aerovan (26 January 1945).

Reading, Berkshire Place in England

Reading is a large minster town in Berkshire, England, of which it is now the county town. It is in the Thames Valley at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet, and on both the Great Western Main Line railway and the M4 motorway. Reading is 70 miles (110 km) east of Bristol, 24 miles (39 km) south of Oxford, 40 miles (64 km) west of London, 14 miles (23 km) north of Basingstoke, 12 miles (19 km) south-west of Maidenhead and 15 miles (24 km) east of Newbury as the crow flies.

Miles M.20 Second World War fighter

The Miles M.20 was a Second World War fighter developed by Miles Aircraft in 1940. It was designed as a simple and quick-to-build 'emergency fighter' alternative to the Royal Air Force's Spitfires and Hurricanes should their production become disrupted by bombing expected in the anticipated German invasion of England. Due to dispersal of manufacturing, the Luftwaffe's bombing of the Spitfire and Hurricane factories did not seriously affect production, the M.20 proved unnecessary and the design was not pursued.

Later life

Thomas Rose lived (for a time in retirement) in a house on Alderney, Channel Islands. The house, in Les Venelles, carries a blue plaque on the wall. [4]

Blue plaque marker commemorating a link between a location and a person or event

A blue plaque is a permanent sign installed in a public place in the United Kingdom and elsewhere to commemorate a link between that location and a famous person, event, or former building on the site, serving as a historical marker. The term is used in the United Kingdom in two different senses. It may be used narrowly and specifically to refer to the "official" scheme administered by English Heritage, and currently restricted to sites within Greater London; or it may be used less formally to encompass a number of similar schemes administered by organisations throughout the UK.

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  1. "Thomas Rose". The Aerodrome. 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  2. Shores, Franks & Guest (1990), p. 325.
  3. Jones, D. The Time Shrinkers: the Development of Civil Aviation between Britain and Africa Rendel 1971 pp175-8
  4. "Blue plaque No. 31589". Open 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.