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Thomas, Basil Gwyn

Known to his army comrades as ‘George ‘ or ‘Tommy’, Trooper Basil Gwyn Thomas was a member of the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps, Service No 7886516, POW No. 5944.

George was captured at Kalamata, Greece in April 1941. Initially in Corinth camp, he arrived at Stalag 18A on September 4, 1941. He was transferred to Stalag 18C at Markt Pongau from May to August 1944, returning to 18A in September. During his stay at the camps he, like many others, managed to escape several times, once getting as far as Yugoslavia, but unfortunately was recaptured each time and remained in the camp until the end of the war. On one escape he and his comrades jumped a train – only to find it was going to Germany.

Born in Monmouthshire, South Wales on 18 November 1918, George joined the Tank Regiment at the age of 17 because he was fascinated by engines and machinery. He was part of the British Expeditionary Force at Calais and then fought in North Africa before being posted to Greece. After the war he met landgirl Mary Cutts in a demob hostel and they were later married and had two children. He worked on mechanical engineering projects in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Thailand, Nigeria, Guyana and Queensland, Australia, before settling back in South Wales in the late 1960s. There he ran the Llanwern steel works engineering workshop in Newport, until his death in 1978.

In the Christmas photo below, George is second from left.

Basil (George) Thomas, post-war

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