(Last Updated on : 10-05-2014)
Air Marshal Sir Thomas Walker Elmhirst was born in 1985.His father was a priest. He received his education from the Royal Naval College and joined the Royal Navy. During World War I Thomas Walker Elmhirst fought several sea battles. He was also in Naval Airship Service, which was formed to attack German Submarines. From 1915 to 1918 Thomas Walker Elmhirst led a Naval Air ship. After that he commanded the 8th Airship Squadron. In 1919 he was appointed to the Royal Air Force. He flew seaplanes, flying boats, and bombers from time to time. Later he was also given the charge of XV RAF Squadron. As part of this squadron he flew Hawker Hart. At that time Thomas Walker Elmhirst completed Staff College courses and got first class Air Navigator's license. He was appointed to the British embassy in Turkey as Air Attaché. After this brief stint Air Marshal Sir Thomas Walker Elmhirst was appointed as a commander of a Bomber Wing during World War II.
In 1940 he was promoted to the rank of Air Commodore and was made the staff of Fighter. After a year Air Marshal Sir Thomas Walker Elmhirst commanded a team in Egypt. He was posted as the Senior Administrative Officer of newly formed Desert Air Force. As part of that he played a crucial role in the Battle of El Alamien. Afterwards as senior administrative officer of the First Tactical Air Force he took part in the invasion of Tunisia and then Sicily. Air Marshal Sir Thomas Walker Elmhirst also served as the Second-in-Command of the 2nd Tactical Air Force. After World War II he was appointed as the Director Air Intelligence at the Air Ministry. In 1947 he was sent to India as the Chief of Inter Service Administration. After independence he assumed the charge of chief staff of Indian Air Force. During this time Air Marshal Sir Thomas Walker Elmhirst insisted Lord Mountbatten and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to free the Indian Air Force from the Indian Army. At that time the administration and infrastructure of the Indian Air Force were in very poor condition. He tried a lot to develop both with the help of Air Commodore S. Mukherjee and Gp. Capt. A.M. Engineer. At that time an operation group and Training Group were set up by Air Marshal Sir Thomas Walker Elmhirst. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Air Marshal Sir Thomas Walker Elmhirst was the reformer of Indian Air Force. He retired from office in 1950. He wrote an autobiography. He passed on 6th November 1982. The Indian Air Force is always grateful to Air Marshal Sir Thomas Walker Elmhirst for his prudence that led its reformation and independent status.