Westlake, Thomas George (No. 89387)

Westlake, Thomas George (Tommy)

Squadron Leader (Pilot)

No. 89387, 290 (RAF) Squadron, Royal Air Force

Killed in an aircraft accident on Saturday 15 April 1944 (aged 27)

Buried:

Bristol (Greenbank) Cemetery, Gloucestershire, England (Screen Wall PP. 94)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

BIOGRAPHY

Thomas George (Tommy) Westlake’s birth was registered in the third quarter of 1916 and he was a son of Richard Hill Westlake and Annie Matilda Westlake (nee Amos).  Richard Hill Westlake worked as a warehouse labourer and his marriage to Annie Amos was registered in the second quarter of 1899 in Bristol, Gloucestershire.  They had four children – Annie Vaughan (born 1900); Richard B. (Dick, born 1914); Thomas George (Tommy, born 1916) and Alienor L.U. (born 1918).

Annie Matilda Westlake was 52 when she died on 21 February 1929 and Richard Hill Westlake remarried.  The marriage between Richard Hill Westlake and Winifred May Holvey was registered in the third quarter of 1930 in Bristol.  Richard Hill Westlake was 71 when he died on 26 February 1942 at Southmead Hospital in Bristol.  His effects amounted to some £630, and probate was granted to his widow Winifred who was living at 19 Stadium Road, Westbury Park, Bristol.

During the Second World War Tommy Weslake served with 290 (RAF) Squadron.  On 15 April 1944, an Airspeed Oxford aircraft (BG601) of 290 (RAF) Squadron based at RAF Long Kesh crashed into the sea near the Copeland Islands off Donaghadee, and both crew members were killed.  They were Squadron Leader Thomas George Westlake and Flying Officer Gordon Elgin Vance. 

Squadron Leader Westlake was leading a formation of three Oxfords in a naval exercise involving simulated torpedo attacks on ships.  The Oxfords were being escorted by five Martinet aircraft forming fighter cover above them.  At around 10.15 pm Squadron Leader Westlake called up the other aircraft and instructed them to return to Ballyhalbert and shortly afterwards his propeller was seen to touch the sea.  His aircraft hit the water and broke up on impact.  RAF high speed launches were dispatched from Donaghadee and they picked up Squadron Leader Westlake who later died of his injuries.

Squadron Leader Thomas George (Tommy) Westlake was buried in Bristol (Greenbank) Cemetery, Gloucestershire, England alongside his mother and father.  His stepmother died on 25 January 1958 (aged 75) and she was buried in the same grave.

Squadron Leader Thomas George (Tommy) Westlake is not named on the headstone.  There is an inscription on the headstone:

I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me

Squadron Leader Thomas George (Tommy) Westlake was 27 when he died.