Ngāpuhi SAS soldier returns home
The kinfolk of Adrian Thomas have long lobbied for his return.
The Ngāpuhi NZ SAS soldier was buried in Malaysia for over 50 years.
His younger brother Paul Thomas says he made the repatriation of his brothers remains his life mission.
“It’s a combination of 42 years of research, fighting, arguing, getting knocked back, all those things. but the important thing is they're coming home.”
Adrian Thomas was 21 when he was struck down in battle in Malaysia in 1956.
10 years later Paul followed his older brother’s footsteps and enlisted for service in the army. He sustained an injury while serving in Vietnam in 1970.
Paul Thomas believes things could have been different for his big bro had the processes been more modified.
“I quite often think had we had the technology in 1956 that we had when I was wounded in 1970, Adrian probably would've been alive.”
Paul also says the repatriation honours his mother's wishes.
“I watched my mum give him a big hug and he went away and didn’t come back. 62 years later, I’m bringing him back I’ll take him up to the urupā where my mum is and reunite mother and son.”
Thomas' remains will be welcomed on home soil today at Auckland airport.
From there he will be taken to the SAS military chapel in Papakura for the night before heading north to his final resting place in the Patunga Marae cemetery.