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Thomas Kenningley

Date of death: 18.61943
Area: Crofton
Regiment: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Family information: Son of Arthur and Minnie Kenningley of Crofton; husband of Joyce Kenningley of Pinderfields, Wakefield
Rank: Sergeant
Service number: 744818

Tom lived in Seaton Terrace, Slack Lane, Crofton with his parents and younger brother Gerald. He attended Hemsworth Grammar School and after school he became a draughtsman and worked for Charles Roberts at Horbury.
Tom was tall, slim and dark haired and is described as being quiet and inoffensive. He was sometimes known as “Tommy”.
When the war began, it was with his school friend Mark that he volunteered to join the Royal Air Force and they did their basic training together. Tom was popular and much in demand on nights out in Lincoln and Gainsborough because he played the piano for his friends. He always began a session by playing his favourite piece which was “Roll out the Barrel”.
Tom and Mark were among 5,000 men gathered at Uxbridge to go to the assistance of Finland, but the operation was cancelled. Mark was then sent to France and Tom tried to follow but was caught up in the retreat from Dunkirk. He escaped back to England. Tom volunteered for flying duties and served with 5 Group, Bomber Command at RAF Hemswell and RAF Finningley.
Tom and his crew were withdrawn from active service to train aircrew in a “flying classroom” and it was on one such flight, in June 1943, that they crashed in the Scottish border country, around Carlisle. Shortly before this Tom had married his sweetheart Joyce and they had been able to spend a few happy days together in Scotland before he was killed. Tom was posthumously commissioned in the rank of Pilot Officer.
Tom was 24 years old. He is buried in Crofton Churchyard.

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