Burma Campaign veteran Tom passes away, aged 100

Tom Paxton celebrated his 100th birthday last month. Picture by Jane Coltman
Tom Paxton celebrated his 100th birthday last month. Picture by Jane Coltman

A Second World War veteran who was honoured with a prestigious medal has died, just a month after celebrating his 100th birthday.

Tom Paxton, who spent most of his life in Northumberland, passed away at Wansbeck General Hospital on Tuesday, June 16, after contracting pneumonia.

The centenarian had recently undergone an operation at the Ashington-based facility after breaking his shoulder, wrist and hip in a fall in Alnwick.

He leaves behind his wife of 67 years, Elizabeth, 91, as well as one son, three grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

His funeral is on Tuesday at St Bartholomew’s Church, Whittingham, at 11am. A Union Flag will be draped across his coffin and a Royal Air Force Association standard will be carried in front of the hearse to honour his military past.

Tom, who celebrated his 100th birthday on May 13, was a proud recipient of the Burma Star medal, awarded to those who served in the Burma Campaign from 1941 to 1945. Tom enlisted when war broke out and was in the RAF until 1946.

After the conflict, Ayton-born Tom married Elizabeth at Ilderton Church in 1948. The couple lived in Powburn for many years, before moving to Alnwick in 2005.

Hardworking Tom had a number of jobs during his long life, including four decades at Swarland Brickyards.

Tom enjoyed many hobbies over the years, including gardening, exhibiting vegetables and ballroom dancing, but his biggest passion was quoits – a game in which he won many trophies. He drove until he was 95 and enjoyed a tipple of whisky each night.

His funeral is open to anyone. Family flowers only but donations to St Bartholomew’s and the Great North Air Ambulance Service.