Flight Sergeant Thomas William Sheridan Addison, the son of William Sheridan Addison and Adria Scougall Addison (nee Brand), was born at Mackay in Queensland on 21st May 1912. He attended state schools at Hughenden, Roma and Charleville before attending the Toowoomba Grammar School where he completed the Junior Public examination in 1928. He commenced employment in the State Public Service in January 1929. He studied Book-keeping in 1929 to enable him to gain promotion in the Public Service. He applied for aircrew training in the Royal Australian Air Force on 6th January 1940 whilst working as the Clerk of Lands & Petty Sessions at St George in Queensland.
Flight Sergeant Thomas Addison was enlisted in the Reserve of the R.A.A.F. on 4th April 1940 after swearing an oath of allegiance. At the age of 28 years and 5 months he was enlisted into the Citizen Air Force of the R.A.A.F. at No. 3 Recruiting Centre in Brisbane on 11th October 1940 after giving an undertaking that he would serve for the duration of the war and an additional twelve months. His physical description at the time of enlistment was that he was 5 feet 7 inches in height and weighed 156 pounds. He had a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. He stated that he was of the Church of England religion. He gave his next of kin as his mother, Mrs Adria Scougall Addison, residing at Barron Street, Kedron, Brisbane. He was allotted the service number of 404571.
Flight Sergeant Thomas Addison joined No. 2 Initial Training School at Lindfield in Sydney where he learned the basics air force training. After completion of his training he joined No. 2 Embarkation Depot at Bradfield Park on 4th January 1941 to prepare for further training in Canada. He embarked from Sydney in New South Wales on 23rd January 1941 and disembarked in Canada on 17th February 1941. He joined No. 2 Air Observer School at Edmonton in Alberta on 17th February 1941. He was transferred to No. 2 Bombing & Gunnery School at Mossbank in Saskatchewan on 12th May 1941. He was promoted to the rank of (Special Group) Temporary Sergeant and awarded the Observer qualification badge on 23rd June 1941. He joined at No. 1 Air Navigation School at Rivers in Manitoba on 24th June 1941. He joined No. 1 Manning Depot at Halifax in Nova Scotia on 29th July 1941 to prepare for overseas attachment with the Royal Air Force.
Flight Sergeant Thomas Addison embarked from Canada on 20th August 1941. After his arrival in England he joined No. 3 Personnel Despatch & Reception Centre at Brighton in England on 29th August 1941. He joined No. 14 Operational Training Unit at Cottesmore on 30th September 1941. He was promoted to the rank of Temporary Flight Sergeant on 23rd December 1941. He joined No. 50 Squadron for operational duties on 2nd January 1942. He was remustered as a Navigator (B) on 23rd July 1942.
Flight Sergeant Thomas Addison was an Air Observer/Navigator and crewmember of a No. 50 Squadron Royal Air Force Lancaster Bomber R5746 that left Royal Air Force Station Waddington and failed to return after an attack on a target at Le Havre in France on the night of 11th/12th August 1942. His father, residing at Edward Street, Charleville was advised by telegram on 17th August 1941 that he was missing as a result of air operations. His father was advised on 6th February 1943 that the International Red Cross Committee had received information from German sources that two members of Thomas Addison’s crew were confirmed killed on 12th August 1942. However there was no information regarding Thomas Addison and four other crew members.
In August 1946 the No. 1 Missing Research & Enquiry Unit conducted investigations of burials in the St Marie Cemetery. The graves of two unknown Anglais/Australian airmen killed on 12th August 1942 were found and an exhumation of the remains was ordered to enable identification. Exhumation of the graves enabled positive identification of Flight Sergeant Addison and Sergeant Waldie. His headstone in the St Marie Cemetery, Le Havre contains the family inscription, “Not Forgotten”. For his service during World War 2 he was awarded the Air Observer qualification badge, the 1939/1945 Star, the Aircrew Europe Star, the War Medal and the Australian Service Medal 1939/1945. Thomas Addison’s name is recorded on Panel No. 118 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Grammar School World War 2 Honour Board.
Flight Sergeant Addison’s sister received the following letter written by Louis Cayeux, President, Rue Clement-Marical, Le Havre on 17th March 1948:
I can inform you that the Lancaster bomber on which your brother was a navigator had been put down by German artillery and fell near Le Havre on 12th August 1942. I think that the bomber fell on fire. Your brother has been buried on the 14th August at the same time and near his comrade (I suppose) called David Gray, also an Australian pilot from the same bomber. They received the military honours by the Germans and I assisted at the ceremony.