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Last War Pilot In Town Passes Away

Friday August 23 2013

A SECOND World War pilot thought to be one of the last in the borough has died.

Tom Bromley, 89, who spent most of his life at Aldham Crescent, died at Buckingham Care Home, Penistone, where he had spent the last few weeks of life.

Born in Wigan, Tom's family walked from Wigan to Wombwell in 1924 when he was a two-year-old to find work as, while coal seams in Lancashire were declining, those in Wombwell were continuing to be exploited. His father eventually found work at Wombwell Main.

The family settled in Smithies before moving to Roebuck Street and Tom went to school at Holgate Grammar after passing his 11 plus exam. Later leaving school to care for his sick mother, he worked in the pits as a technician and studied chemistry and physics at night school.

In 1941, he became a pilot with the Royal Air Force and received his training in Africa, after travelling by sea. On the journey there, the ships in front and behind his were hit by torpedos and sank.

After completing his training, Tom returned to Britain as a Wellington Bomber pilot. On one particular mission the plane failed to lift off correctly, causing it to crash, though the crew survived.

He then moved to the Air Transport Auxiliary, responsible for ferrying new, repaired and damaged military aircraft across the country, where he flew 40 different different types of aircraft.

These included Lancaster Bombers, Wellington Bombers, four types of Spitfires, four types of Hurricanes and, his personal favourite, the Mosquito.

After being demobbed, Tom found work as a salesman for Hoover and rose to the position of sales manager for the north of England. He would stay with the company for 35 years before retirement.

He met wife Mary, née Savage, from Sheffield, during the war at a dance at the Cuban Club in Barnsley. Following the war, they stayed with Mary's father at the Imperial in Barnsley, where he was landlord.

They married in 1947 at St Mary's Church, Barnsley, and moved in with Tom's sister at Wood Walk. Their first child, Martyn, was born in 1949 followed by their daughter, Lynn, and son, Paul.

In his leisure time, Tom enjoyed golf and joined Silkstone Golf Club in 1960, rising to captain and, later, president. He was also a lifelong Barnsley FC fan, a Freemason and a member of Barnsley Round Table.

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Reply Posted by Craig on Friday August 23 2013 at 17:11
Brave man, Rest in peace Mr Bromley you have served your country greatly and make no mistake your town and your country is proud to have you as a citizen. good night and god bless

Reply Posted by sid on Friday August 23 2013 at 22:17
Lovely post Craig.
They broke the mold.

Reply Posted by Craig on Tuesday August 27 2013 at 13:20
Thanks Sid, i thought it was only fitting.

Reply Posted by jacky on Saturday August 24 2013 at 11:54
what great acheivments he made throughout his life, RIP x

Reply Posted by Charles Hemingway on Monday August 26 2013 at 13:31
Sounds like a top man, RIP and well done in your lifetime

Reply Posted by Graham Cooke on Monday August 26 2013 at 16:20
We owe so much to the heroes,of both world wars,because i certainly wouldn't have been here if it hadn't been for people like Mr Bromley.
and my Grandfather so RIP all you heroes.

Reply Posted by Stevo on Tuesday August 27 2013 at 16:17
R.I.P Brave man, generations of fellow country men will be forever indebted to you.

Reply Posted by lyndon on Wednesday August 28 2013 at 21:01
indeed,sadly they don't make em like him anymore RIP sir

Reply Posted by Yousthedaddy on Thursday August 29 2013 at 19:13
I went to Benidorm on that last week,

Reply Posted by dom on Thursday August 29 2013 at 22:20
a true warrior rip fella you guys wont be forgotten