Monday, 3 October 2011

SOME MEMORIES OF "TAFF" THOMAS

SOME MEMORIES OF “TAFF” THOMAS
Dear Julie,

I was greatly saddened to hear this morning of your dad's passing last weekend.  I trust that you and the family will have many happy memories to sustain you during this difficult time.

I served with Taff on at least a couple of occasions during my career - firstly as an SAC on H Team at Abingdon where he was my team flight sergeant and then on the Belfast Movements Unit in 1977/78 when he was a WO (and I a corporal).  Of course, our paths met on other occasions from time to time.   I remember your dad with great affection - not only was a he a good leader and a good man to work for, he was friendly, sociable, and great fun when off duty.  I will long remember my first trip with him on UKMAMS in 1970 when we became 'stuck' in Entebbe, Uganda, staying - as ever (!) in the best hotel in Entebbe - and standing while your Dad entertained us and all the hotel guests with his piano playing styles from jazz to pop to classical!  Of course, it was not the only time!  What a talent and what a wonderful way he used it!  I was so glad when I found that I was working for him again in Belfast.  They say that we are all products, in many ways, of those whom we work for.  Clearly, your Dad’s influence worked well on me, as I retired as a Wing Commander.

The world is a sadder place for the loss of Taff.  You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers at this sad time.
Kind regards
Tim Newstead


From: Sam Heaphy <sam.heaphy@hotmail.co.uk>
Subject: your dads death
Hi julie,
I have just found out that my old mate has passed away.
I have been friends with him since 1960 when you all lived in penang
I  helped your mum to pack up when you had to return to the uk after dads bike accident
Julie I would love to talk to you about the old days. give us a ring sometime,
cheers sam


From: GRAHAM LEMAN <grahamfromsolo@hotmail.com>
To: ukmams oba <ukmamsoba@gmail.com>,
Subject: TAFF THOMAS
Tony
I would like to add my condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the infamous Taff Thomas.
When I was a very young SAC in Cyprus in the late 70's early 80's, Taff arrived as the AMF WO. He was an amazing man. So friendly, so much trade knowledge and a fantastic and very dry Welsh sense of humour. Friends of mine from other squadrons at Akrotiri were so jealous, as he treated them like movers, like long lost friends, even though they did not work for him. His humour and story telling became legendary amongst us airmen and he was always first on our list for leaving parties. I will never forget him coming into the cargo shed early one morning, after a rather heavy night out, and asking me "Ave yer got any medicine down here scouse"  Are you sick Sir, I'll give you a lift to the med centre if you want?" I replied. "A Keo shandy will do me just fine" he laughed. I'll NEVER forget him.


Graham "Scouse" Leman
Head of Regional Security for Western Russia
British Embassy
Moscow

From: Robert Thacker <bobthacker27@gmail.com>
Subject: Taff Thomas
Hello Julie
I was sorry to hear of the death of your father......I was on his UKMAMS team at Abingdon for several years in the early 70's.  I lost touch when I was posted overseas in late 1973.  He was certainly noted on the Squadron for his piano playing abilities  and always managed to get the squadron parties going with a swing!
He was always known as 'Taff' on the team and as far as I am aware on the Squadron as well.  They were certainly happy times and I well remember him as being one of the Squadron characters!
Please accept my condolences but I am sure he will be remembered and respected by many.

Kind Regards
Bob
Bob Thacker
From: "David Eggleton" <david.eggleton1933@btinternet.com>
Subject: Norman (Taff) Thomas
Dear Julie,
So sorry to hear that "Taff" as most of us on UKMAMS Abingdon new him has come to the end of the road. He was as Tony mentioned quite a person, we joined together if I am correct as Flight Sergeants in December 1966, Mams was getting established, it was a pretty hard period, not much equipment but we did our best, the spirit was amazing. I have never met anyone who could play the piano without music as Taff could, he brightened us all up on many detachments. My condolences to all the family.
                               Kindest Regards,
                                                            Dave Eggleton.

From: "UKMAMS OBA" <ukmamsoba@gmail.com>
Subject: The Latest Mover's Newsletter
Hello again Julie,
I have published the newsletter today and included your announcement regarding the passing of your father.

I added a picture of 'Taff' that was taken in 1972 in Singapore while we were involved in a multi-national exercise in the Malaysian jungle – what great memories!

You can see the newsletter online at http://ukmamsoba.org/obb092311.html

Sincerely
Tony Gale
Secretary & Webmaster
UKMAMS Old Bods Association
Gatineau/Ottawa, Canada
Tel: 819-684-9140
Mob: 613-255-8465
http://ukmamsoba.org


From: "Jack Riley" <jjriley1@bigpond.com>
Subject: Norman (Taff) Thomas
Reply-To: <jjriley1@bigpond.com>
Would you please accept, and pass to the family, my sincere condolences and those of all our members.
Jack Riley
Chairman
UKMAMSOBA
(1945-1965)

From: KEVIN STANGER <kevinstanger@shaw.ca>
Subject: DEEPEST CONDOLENCES
My deepest condolences to your family at this sad time. Rest assured he will be in that big movers crewroom in the sky pulling up a sand bag and talking about old times.
 Kev (Geordie) Stanger

From: "UKMAMS OBA" <ukmamsoba@gmail.com>
Subject: Condolences - WO Taff Thomas
Dear Julie,
Although your father was not a member of the OBA, he was an iconic figure amongst the rank and file; one of the true stalwarts from the Abingdon days of the squadron.

I had the honour of working with him on many occasions and remember his ever-happy countenance with much fondness.
He will be remembered as a wonderful leader of men and a good colleague.
Please accept the condolences of the entire Old Bods Association around the world.

Sincerely
Tony Gale
Secretary & Webmaster
UKMAMS Old Bods Association
Gatineau/Ottawa, Canada
http://ukmamsoba.org/


From: "JADTEU-AP-AP20 (Ralph, Ray WO)" <JADTEU-AP-AP20@mod.uk>
Subject: 20110923-WO Taff Thomas-U
Hello Julie,
As the Senior Movements Trade Warrant Officer may I send you and your family my deepest condolences on hearing about 'Taff' passing away both from myself and the Movements Trade.  All our thoughts are with you and your family at this time.
In your e-mail you are right, he wasn't known as Norman in the RAF, but always as Taff, and he was famous in the movements trade for his piano playing.  After a few beers in a bar, and if there happened to be a piano in it Taff wouldn't take much prompting to get playing.
When he was posted to Akrotiri in 80's he was my Warrant Officer (I was a Corporal) and I had to deliver his piano to his married quarter using the section forklift.  I am pleased to say I didn't damage it on its precarious journey from the cargo hangar!

Your Sincerely
 Ray RalphR R RALPH MBE
WO
Email: 
Ray.Ralph423@mod.uk

From: "Jacqueline Brice" <jcbrice@holford1992.freeserve.co.uk>
Subject: Death of WO N V Thomas
Dear Julie,
I am the Welfare Secretary for the RAF MAMS Association and this is to let you know that we have received your email regarding the very sad death of your father.  Please accept the condolences of the Assn Committee to you and your family.  We will inform the Assn membership of the sad news and I am sure we will receive many messages of condolence from your father’s friends and colleagues.  When these have been received I will collect them together and, with your permission, send them to you.
 Once again please accept our sincere condolences and if there is anything we can do to help please don’t hesitate to ask.  I am sure that we will receive some requests for information regarding funeral arrangements, and if you wish these to be given publicity please let me know.  If the funeral arrangements are to be strictly family, then of course we will inform the membership of your wishes.
 Regards,


Jackie Brice
RAF MAMS Assn Welfare Secretary

From: "John Wickham" <lloydwickham@gmail.com>
Subject: Norman (Taff) Thomas
Julie,
Please accept my condolences about your Father, not that I can remember him as I am the son of a Mover whom was at Abingdon 1963 – 1971.
I was wondering did I or my brother Don knock around with your Family or did we go to school together?
We lived Abingdon Rd Steventon, Welland Close on the camp and then Beverley Close in Abingdon.
I went to Carswell Infants and Junior School, Dunmore Junior School, John Mason & Fitzharrys Schools.
Best Wishes
John Wickham
 
Please pass on my condolence to Taffs family.Spent many a happy time arround the piano both at abingdon and west drayton (on tristar despatchers course at heathrow) RIP rgds Jim Marchant

Dear Julie,
Although your father was not a member of the OBA, he was an iconic figure amongst the rank and file; one of the true stalwarts from the Abingdon days of the squadron.
I had the honour of working with him on many occasions and remember his ever-happy countenance with much fondness.
He will be remembered as a wonderful leader of men and a good colleague.
Please accept the condolences of the entire Old Bods Association around the world.
Sincerely

Tony Gale
Secretary & Webmaster
UKMAMS Old Bods Association
Gatineau/Ottawa, Canada
Tel: 819-684-9140
Mob: 613-255-8465
http://ukmamsoba.org


Please pass on our condolences to Taffs family. Both my wife Chris and I remember him well. We were in Cyprus together from about 1978 till 1982.
From Jim and Chris Muir
Newquay,
Cornwall.

A great bloke very sad to hear sad news, condolences to family Cymru am Byth
Taff Farrow
I notice your member listed as Mr Norman Thomas, and feel that it must be my Father! But somehow I don't think anyone would remember him as 'Norman' - more likely Tommy or Taff Thomas, the piano man...

I regret to inform you that he passed away on Saturday 17th September, peacefully and at home, just 5 weeks short of 82 yrs. He was a great family man - and with 7 children, I guess you could say he proved that. We will all miss him dearly. I hope he may be remembered by some of his colleagues, or team over the years, and I regret that we didn't make it easier for him to go 'electronic' and keep in touch as it's a great way to share stories, and thank you for the insight. He wasn't able to get about very easily after his retirement in the 80's, and in fact ended up staying in one place for 26yrs - which must be unheard of - for a Mover!

Am not sure of his history but he joined UKMAMS @ RAF Abingdon in the early 70's, and continued to travel far; having joined the RAF in 1947, and being posted to all those far-flung places required of those ever-changing times.

Kind regards,

Julie Clark (daughter)


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Thank you

The family of Norman Vaughan Thomas "Taff" would like to sincerely thank everyone who has written so kindly about our father. We are posting some of the messages here for everyone to read and share. Dad would have loved this...
With thanks from:
Anne
Brenda
David
Paul
Julie
Pamela
Helen

Old Times



With Mum and friends


Playing with the band in Australian hostel, Malaya