THOMAS (TOM) BOYD MOODIE
31 October 1916 - 14 February 2012

 

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, his primary education was at Dalry Public school where he was bright enough to be on accelerated learning and finished primary school at age 10. He won a 500 pound bursary to the Royal High School for 5 years. On completion, he won a scholarship to the university in Arts. While successful in first year, he was not terribly enthused and so joined the RAF in 1933. The RAF trained him as an armourer, then fitter armourer, then airgunner in the dustbin turret of the Handley Page Heyford biplane bomber.

In December 1935 he was posted to the NW Frontier, India, flying in WW1 designs, DH9 and Bristol Fighter. From there to Mesopotamia in armoured cars, and in 1937 back to the UK for the Coronation. Returning to Mesopotamia, then Sudan, then hospital in Palestine, then Alexandria on Short Singapores. This led to a flight to Singapore which was no sooner reached than the Munich crisis caused a recall to Egypt and a posting to Mersa Matruh on Hawker Harts.

In February 1939 his enlistment was up and he returned to civilian life in Scotland in civil engineering. On the outbreak of WW2, Tom was dispatched south by train to Hastings. Posted to an EFTS at Burnaston, he learnt to fly on Miles Magisters, Avro Cadets and Tutors, Oxfords and Ansons. From there to an AONS course at Prestwick where he qualified as a navigator and bombardier.

Operational posting to Driffield saw Tom flying in Whitleys over Europe and involved him in a incident where he was burned clearing a flare jammed in the flare chute of his aircraft. While recuperating he participated in the rescue of Don Bennett from a Halifax involved in a takeoff collision. Back on ops, he was part of the abortive search for the Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen in the channel dash. Many raids in Europe followed until in June 42 Tom was catapulted from a Halifax which came to a sudden stop on a Scottish hillside. Suffering from relatively minor injuries, he was, after recuperation, sent via an initial training wing to Canada for a course in astro navigation. There was then a stint trying to teach this skill to the USAAF. Returned by boat to the UK, he converted to Mosquitos and was back on ops. with the Pathfinders as a marker until the end of the war. This included marking for a raid on the heavy water plant in Norway. His aircraft crashed and he was captured. Escaping from a German hospital he fought with the resistance in Norway.

Post war, while still in the RAF, he was loaned to BOAC on Hythe flying boats and also acted as trouble shooter around the middle east. After demobilisation, Tom became committed to the world of civil engineering and moved from project to project around the world. This included working for Vic Rail and the Snowy Mountains Authority in Australia where he met and married Betty. Then Taiwan, India, China, Korea, Bougainville, and Vietnam.

He retired to Maleny and became involved with various causes and organisations. This included QAM where he served for 12 months as President, being deeply involved in efforts to expand the housing available for the collection.


QUEENSLAND AIR MUSEUM www.qam.com.au