TOWELL, Thomas Stanley Walker, Sergeant (590802) - No.10 Squadron - Distinguishd Flying Medal - awarded as per London Gazette dated 17 January 1941. Born 1917 in Richmiel, County, Armagh, Ireland. Enlisted 1933. 590802, commissioned 12 April 1941. Promoted Wing Commander, 1 July 1952. Retired as Wing Commander, 12 December 1964. No citation in London Gazette but recommendation drafted 22 November 1940 (typical in the amount of detail the squadron submitted at that time) reads as follows (source: Ian Tavender, The Distinguished Flying Medal Register for the Second World War:
This NCO acted as second pilot to Sergeant W.S. Hillary, DFM on eight successful missions. As Captain of aircraft he has since brought to a successful conclusion a further twelve missions on the following dates:
11.8.40 - The Oil Refinery at Gelsenkirchen was successfully attacked in two sticks by the Captain. On the second run, incendiaries were seen to burst on the target. Clouds were 9/10s over the target area. Razzle was also successfully carried out. Flak fire was intense and several holes were made in the fuselage of the aircraft, but no casualties were suffered.
15.8.40 - The Turin Aircraft factory was the objective, and this was attaccked from a height of 2,500 feet in one run. Explosions and fires were seen in the Factory and continued ten minutes after the aircraft left the area. Clouds were 10/10s until the target area was reached, then thick haze was encountered. A.A. fire was inaccurate, the heavy calibre being closer.
18.8.40 - The aerodrom at Rabshein was chosen as the objective, and two attacks were carried out from a height of 3,000 feet. Direct hits were observed amongst the obstruction lights. No damage or casualties were sustained..
27.9.40 - The object of this mission was to destroy and hinder invasion preparations at Le Havre. Owing to weather conditions only one attack was carried out - from 11,000 feet. Bombs were believed to straddle the target and a glow was seen on the target, suggesting a large fire. Observation was hindered by cloud. A.A. fire was intense but, being fired through cloud, was inaccurate.
30.9.40 - The German Air Ministry at Berlin was the target and this Captain attacked successfully through gaps in the clouds which were 9/10s at 700 feet over the target area. Hits were observed on a Railway Station S.W. of the target, probably Potsdam Station. Three large fires were seen as the aircraft left the area. A.A. fire was intense and accurate. Searchlights were also intense and were working in cone formation.
7.10.40 - A successful attack was made on this occasion on Schipol Aerodrome. Two sticks were dropped and fire was caused in the target area but these could not be accurately be pin–pointed owing to the drifting cloud. A.A. fire was light in intensity and not very accurate.
10.10.40 - On this occasion the target was the Synthetic Oil Factory at Koln. The captain successfully attacked from 10,000 feet, dropping all his bombs in one stick. Large explosions were observed and bright green fires started. The target was identified by a bend in the river and by flares which were dropped around the area. A.A. fire was heavy supported by a concentration of searchlights. No damage was sustained by the aircraft or its crew however.
14.10.40 - The Captain successfully attacked Le Havre shipping and docks. All bombs were dropped in one stick and large explosions were seen and fires immediately broke out and were visible for a considerable time after the aircraft had left the target area. A.A. fire was slight and inaccurate.
6.11.40 - On this occasion the secondary target at Duisburg was attacked. The Captain attacked from 9,000 feet and dropped all his bombs in one stick. Bombs were seen to burst in the target area and several fires were started. A.A. and searchlights were moderate and the aircraft and crew suffered no damage or casualties.
8.11.40 - The target on this occasion was the Stuttgart Aircraft Component Factory, The Captain attacked from 9,000 feet and dropped all his bombs in one stick. All the bombs fell in the target area but it was not possible to observe the results.
13.11.40 - The target on this occasion was the Synthetic Oil Plant at Merseburg but owing to bad weather conditions around the target area, this Captain was unable to locate it. Attacks were therefore made on concentrations of searchlights in the vicinity of the target and bomb flashes were obseved and the glare of the incendiaries seen through the haze.
15.8.40 - This Captain successfully attacked the primary target which on this occasion was the shipbuilding yards at Hamburg. All bombs were seen ro burst on the target area and numerous fires were caused. A.A. was intense and the aircraft was held in the beams of searchlights for a short time but suffered no damage to itself or the crew.
This N.C.O. has carried out all the tasks allotted to him with skill and determination. He is cheerful and reliable and is proving himself to be one of the squadron’s most reliable Captains. He is strongly recommended for the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.
TOWELL, Thomas Stanley Walker, F/O, DFM (45544) - Mentioned in Despatches - awarded as per London Gazette dated 2 June 1943.
TOWELL, Thomas Stanley Walker, F/L, DFM (45544) - No.159 Squadron. Distinguishd Flying Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 18 June 1943. Citation in AMB 10588.
Flight Lieutenant Towell, now on his second tour of operational duty has proved to be an exceptional pilot and an outstanding captain of aircraft. He has flown on a very large number of operational sorties, on all occasions showing great courage and determination to attack his targets successfully, often in the face of imtense opposition from enemy ground defences and night fighters. Several times, Flight Lieutenant Towell has flown his badly damaged aircraft safely back to base/ His superb airmanship and devotion to duty have been an example worthy of the highest praise.
Website, Accidents in Yorkshire, includes Whitley P5018 damaged in air, returned to Leeming airfield. Towell was pilot and captain; account as follows:
On the night of 19th / 20th October 1940 the crew of this 10 Squadron aircraft were in the process of undertaking an operational flight to Osnabruck and had taken off from Leeming at 17.52hrs. Some forty miles off the English coast the port engine began to violently vibrate, the crew were unable to fix the problem so returned to base and landed at Leeming at 19.31hrs where it was found that about six inches of a propeller blade had broken off but it was not known how the damage had occurred.
There is an additional reference to "Towell", on Richard Allenby's website: https://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk...41/t4234b.html
Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 20th September 2023 at 02:37.