May 18, 2023 11.30 am This story is over 5 months old

RAF Coningsby mourns loss of ‘hugely respected’ Sergeant

He will be repatriated to the UK today

A beloved Sergeant based at RAF Coningsby has tragically passed away from natural causes, and his body will be flown back to the UK today.

Sergeant Gareth Thomas, known as Gaz to his friends, was deployed to Cyprus as part of Joint Force Support.

He was described as a “true professional” who earned the respect of everyone who knew him, and could “brighten even the darkest day” with his smile.

He began his career in the RAF in July 1997 as a RAF Regiment Gunner and was stationed at RAF Coningsby in 2016.

During his two decades of service, Sergeant Thomas served in Afghanistan and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2020.

In March of this year, he was assigned to Cyprus, where he played a crucial role in ensuring that UK forces in the region had the necessary supplies.

Sergeant Thomas was not only highly regarded for his military duties but also known as an exceptional chef. He earned the title of the “BBQ king” among his squadron members, as he selflessly provided food for events without complaint.

He also had a talent for DJing and would livestream sets as DJ Itchy, showcasing his extensive knowledge of music. It was common to find him happily listening to rave music while working.

Squadron Leader A-J Littlefield, Officer Commanding Logistic Squadron RAF Coningsby, said: “Gaz was an essential member of the Logistics Squadron and earned immense respect from everyone who knew him. The impact of his contributions in the various roles he fulfilled at RAF Coningsby will be felt for years to come.

Sergeant Gareth Thomas | Photo: RAF

“He was not only a dedicated professional but also possessed a brilliant sense of humor, making him a joy to work with for his colleagues and friends.”

“More than anything, Gaz was a friend to us all. People often sought his advice, and he was an excellent tradesperson, but he always made time for social interactions as well. We will miss his infectious smile and his friendly ‘Alright bud’ greeting that could brighten even the darkest days.

“Engaging in a conversation with Gaz meant clearing your schedule for the next hour, as he loved to talk, whether about work or social matters. We all loved talking to him.”

Group Captain Billy Cooper expressed his condolences, stating: “Our thoughts are with Sergeant Thomas’s family during this incredibly sad time. As a close-knit community, Coningsby recognizes true leaders and personalities, and Gaz Thomas was at the top of that list.

“Everyone who worked with Gaz held him in high regard, not only for his professionalism but also as the glue that held the Logistics Squadron together. His loss deeply affects us all.”

Lieutenant Colonel Damion Moxon said: “Sergeant Gareth Thomas was a highly skilled and greatly admired member of Joint Force Support, providing urgent logistical support to UK service personnel deployed across the Middle East.

“Recently, he extended his expertise to support the UK’s operations in Sudan. He was a cherished friend and colleague, and his absence will be keenly felt. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his family during this terrible time.”

Sergeant Thomas’s remains will be repatriated to RAF Brize Norton later today.

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