Lake Macquarie History

Remembering Tommy

Sergeant Thomas Frederick Pickering was a talented young pilot. He served at Bradfield Park, Point Cook, Temora and Rathmines. He was involved in training other RAAF personnel at 10 Elementary Flying Training School at Temora.

photo: remembering tommy

Tommy was the first 9 Squadron member to lose their life at Rathmines. He was piloting A2-11 Supermarine Seagull V when the aircraft turned over just offshore from Rathmines Theatre on Lake Macquarie. He did not survive the accident. His body was not immediately recovered. Tommy was 22 years old.

Tommy is remembered at the Australian War Memorial and Catalina Base Memorial here at Rathmines. He is buried in Botany General Cemetery.

Corporal Stanley James Cook Cummings received a British Empire Medal for his courageous underwater salvage efforts following the accident.

“On the 5th March, 1942, Corporal Cummings again displayed courage and devotion to duty when an aircraft crashed and sank in about thirty-three feet of water… during the whole course of the salvage operations and at some considerable risk to himself, [he] continued diving in his efforts to locate and free the pilot.”

Acknowledgement of Country

We remember and respect the Ancestors who cared for and nurtured this Country. It is in their footsteps that we travel these lands and waters. Lake Macquarie City Council acknowledges the Awabakal people and Elders past, present and future.

Council acknowledges traditional custodians throughout Australia. We commit to listening deeply to and collaborating with First Peoples in our work.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website and Council's cultural collections may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material.

This website may contain place names, opinions and terms that reflect authors' views or those of the period in which the item was written or recorded. These may not be considered appropriate today.

If you experience any issues with the website or its content please contact us [email protected]