Thelma Stewart-Browne
Later Thelma Thomas

Serial Number: W5626
RNZAF Trade: Dental Nurse in the WAAF
Date of Enlistment: 31st of July 1943
Date of Demob: 29th of June 1944
Rank Achieved: Women's Auxiliary 1
Flying Hours: nil
Operational Sorties: nil

Date of Birth: 23rd of July 1923, in Cambridge
Personal Details: Thelma was the daughter of Kenneth Stewart Browne and Marjorie Victoria Browne (nee Hicks). She was educated at Leamington School, and Cambridge High School, and lastly St Cuthbert's School. Thelma was one of twins, her identical sister Laura Stewart Browne (now Laura Moore) becoming a Land Army girl who continued to work on her parents' farm. The twins were well known in Cambridge circles, especially for their singing talents. Their late brother Kenny Browne farmed the family's 6000 acre property named Lanherne, at Leamington, where Thelma grew up. As well as a farmer, Kenny Browne Jr. was a very famous amateur jockey and racehorse trainer.

Thelma Married Hal Thomas, who was a fighter pilot during the war and had been born in Cambridge. Together they had four children, Geoff, Graham, Colin and Julie.

Service Details: Thelma doesn't recall where she first went to join the WAAF, but she rememebrs her first station posting was to RNZAF Station Levin for three weeks of basic training. She then went onto RNZAF Station Rotorua where she trained to become a dental nurse. The Dental Section was situated in the Blue Baths in Rotorua, and Thelma and her fellow dental WAAF's lived in commandeered barracks in Waiwera House (which no longer exists).

After Rotorua closed Thelma was transferred to RNZAF Station Wigram and remained there till she was demobbed.

Dies: 25th of December 2013, at Resthaven, Cambridge, aged 90

Connection with Cambridge: Thelma was born and bred in Cambridge. She lived in Auckland for some time but came back to Cambridge in her final years


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