Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Thomas Watkins Rayment, known by everyone simply as “Tommy”, was the son of Herbert John and Sara Louise Rayment. He was born during the year 1914 in Petersham, a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, where both his English-born parents were working in the seed business.
He was educated at Barker College (located in a North Shore suburb of Sydney, New South Wales) from 1926 until 1929, being a day boy at the School during the period 1928-1929 and then leaving to follow an open air occupation on medical advice.
He came to England and worked in the Tropical and Decorative department of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in South West London from 1838 until 1940 when, on the 23rd July that year, he volunteered for service in the Royal Air Force.
He survived many bombing missions and was once shot down at sea but, being the sole survivor of his crew, he was picked up by a trawler after five hours in a rubber dinghy.
As a Flight Sergeant aged 28 based at RAF Oakington near Cambridge, his luck ran out on 25th August 1942 when he was shot down and killed during a bombing raid over Essen in the Ruhr, one of Germany’s main industrial areas. His was the only Stirling bomber among several 7 Squadron bombers lost on this one thousand bomber raid.
He was buried alongside several of his 7 Squadron crew at Avesnes-sur-Helpe Communal Cemetery in France, just 14 kilometres west of the Belgian border. His name features on a war memorial at his home town of Beecroft in New South Wales, Australia and he is commemorated on a metal plaque sited inside the Temple of Arethusa at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, South West London.
Probate of his Will was granted at Birmingham in England on the 10th March 1943 to civil servant Reuben Thomas Rayment (his uncle) and spinster Dorothy Rayment. The Will shows that he was living at 1 Mortlake Road, Kew, Surrey, England when he made it on 25th July 1940 (two days after he joined the RAF).
Unfortunately no photographs of him are known to have survived but the Rayment Society is hoping that someone, somewhere, will know differently!
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