It is with great sadness that the Royal Air Force announces the death of Sergeant Gareth Thomas, from natural causes, whilst serving in Cyprus as part of Joint Force Support (Middle East). Sergeant Thomas will be repatriated to Royal Air Force Brize Norton later today.
Sergeant Thomas joined the RAF in July 1997 as a RAF Regiment Gunner, he completed basic and phase two training at RAF Honington. His first posting in January 1998 was to No 15 Sqn RAF Regiment, then a posting to 26 Sqn RAF Regiment in March 2003.
Sergeant Thomas was reselected into supply and in January 2004 he commenced Supply Basic Training at RAF Halton. A posting to RAF Brize Norton Logistics Sqn followed in May 2004. In November 2008, on promotion to Cpl, he was posted to Tactical Supply Wing (TSW) B Flight, at Stafford. During his time with TSW, he completed an operational deployment to Afghanistan.
Sergeant Thomas went back to RAF Brize Norton in November 2012. In January 2013 he received the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. A posting followed to Cyprus, Akrotiri and then in August 2016 to RAF Coningsby, initially in Priority Progression Cell and then into Primary Equipment Pack Management Cell.
On promotion to Sergeant in February 2020 he took charge of the Repairable Management Section and was then latterly posted into the Quality and Continuous Improvement Team SNCO role.
Sergeant Thomas deployed to Cyprus, as part of Joint Force Support (Middle East), in March 2023, responsible for the critical task of getting priority freight to the right place and right time to support UK forces deployed throughout the region.
Affectionately known to all as Gaz, away from his primary role he immersed himself in a plethora of secondary and associated duties to improve the service life of those around him. Gaz was a central figure in social activities, both on Logistics Squadron and across the station. Gaz was known for his culinary skills. Whenever there was a function, you would always get the best sausages and burgers as Gaz was a master chef. He fed the vast majority of his squadron during social events, without complaint. He was the true king of the barbeque!
Gaz was a keen online DJ and had a huge following through his live-streamed sets as DJ Itchy. Always giving a nice shout-out to those who joined his stream to listen, it may not have been to everyone’s taste in music but he was exceptionally talented at it. Always open for requests, he was able to knit together anything asked for, and his musical knowledge was incredible. Ask any question about an artist or a song from any genre of music and Gaz would invariably know the answer. It would amaze many that he could happily work away on the Sqn while listening to rave music!
Gaz was an integral member of the Logistics Sqn and was hugely respected amongst all who knew him. His efforts in each of the many roles he fulfilled at RAF Coningsby will be seen and felt for years to come. A professional in work, he always got the job done. This with a brilliant sense of humour, his colleagues and friends loved to work with him.
The biggest thing Gaz was to us all was a friend. Often sought for sound advice he was an excellent tradesperson, but you would never leave him without talking about social stuff too, and that is something we will miss the most. Always with a big grin and an ‘Alright bud’ greeting, he could brighten the darkest of days.
If you were to get into a conversation with Gaz, you might want to clear your diary for the next hour. Whether work or social, Gaz loved to talk, and we all loved to talk to him.
Squadron Leader A-J Littlefield,
Officer Commanding Logistic Squadron RAF Coningsby
The thoughts of all of us at Coningsby are with Sgt Thomas’s family at this incredibly sad time. As a Station, we are a very close-knit group where real leaders and personalities come to the fore, Gaz Thomas was right at the top of that list. Everyone who worked with Gaz looked up to him with huge respect as somebody who was not only incredibly professional but, particularly within the Logistics Squadron, the character that held the team together - his loss is felt deeply by us all.
Group Captain Billy Cooper,
RAF Coningsby Station Commander
Sergeant Gareth Thomas was a hugely talented and greatly admired member of Joint Force Support, providing urgent logistic support to UK service personnel deployed throughout the far reaches of the Middle East. Most recently he extended this expertise to supporting the UK’s operations in Sudan. He was a much-valued friend and colleague, who will be sorely missed. Our heartfelt sympathies are with his family at this difficult terrible time.
Lieutenant Colonel Damion Moxon,
Commanding Officer Joint Force Support (Middle East)