Thomas Walter White (1888-1957) - one of the first Australian pilots

Discussion in 'Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Thomas Walter White (1888-1957) was a noticeable figure in the Australian history. He was one of the first Australian pilots. Having become a POW in Turkey in 1915, he met Russians in captivity, what helped him escape to Russia, then engulfed by the Civil War, shortly before the end of the WW1. He witnessed many dramatic events which were happening in Odessa in autumn 1918…

    In 1918-1932 White was a businessman, but in 1932 he returned to the Army. Prior to that, in 1929 he had been elected as a member of the Australian Parliament, and in 1935-38 he occupied a ministerial position in the Australian government. In 1938 White visited Europe as a head of an Australian Mission headed to a conference on the issue of refugee acceptance. During this trip he visited factories and aircraft plants on the Nazi Germany and got convinced that Germany was preparing to wage a war. Nevertheless, he failed to convince the Australian Cabinet of Ministers in it and resigned. However, largely due to him, thousands of people found political asylum in Australia.

    With the beginning of the WW2 White joined the RAAF again and in 1941 was sent to England, where he commanded an airforce base in Bournemouth. Despite his age and breaching the regulations, he took part in several bomber raids over Germany as the second pilot. To a significant extent, due to his forced trip to Russia in 1918, White was an ardent anti-Communist. In 1943, having returned to Australia, he participated in formation of a major right political party of the country – the Liberal party, and in 1949 he became the Minister for Air and Civil Aviation. Later on he was instrumental in sending of the 77th RAAF squadron to Korea in 1950.

    Vladimir Kroupnik. The Captain White's escape

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