The eldest son of W B Thomas, 4 County Place, Pitcairngreen, Leading Aircraftman Benjamin Thomas was on leave following his internment in Casablanca when he died 10 February 1943.
Thomas joined the RAF six years prior and he was served in the Middle East from the outbreak of war. He was on his way home when his ship was torpedoed in September 1942. After swimming for some hours, he was picked up a lifeboat. The survivors were subsequently taken onboard a German U-Boat.
They were then transferred to a French vessel and taken to Casablanca where Benjamin spent two months in an internment camp. The Allied landings in North Africa in November 1942 brought his release. Thomas was put abroad a US relief ship and taken to an American port.
Following his return to the UK, he married Ann Horsburgh from Guardbridge, Fife. His best man was his brother. A second brother in the Royal marines won a DSM for distinguished conduct during the Battles of Narvik.
Mediouna Internment Camp, Casablanca: British subjects rescued at sea and detained by Vichy Government – sailors, soldiers,
airmen and merchant seamen (Art.IWM ART LD 2887) image: View of an internment camp with figures standing around the huts Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1667
Mediouna Internment Camp, Casablanca 8th November 1942: The bombardment of Casablanca harbour. Interned British subjects
awaiting release. (Art.IWM ART LD 2888) image: A panoramic view of an internment camp with figures standing around the central yard. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1668