Lance Bombardier Stanley Thayer, 27 and from Cosham, was serving with 5th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery of the Royal Artillery. 5 HAA Battery were part of 2 Heavy AA Regiment, and were based in Northern France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. They landed in France in November 1939.
As a 27 year old Lance-Bombardier in a regular Artillery unit in 1940, Thayer was almost certainly a pre-war regular soldier. During the German invasion of France and Belgium in the Spring of 1940, Lance Bombardier Thayer found himself facing an attack by German aircraft.
At 6am on Sunday May 11th, eleven Dornier 215 aircraft flew at a height of about 50 feet very near to the gun position at which the L/Bdr was stationed. The aircraft appeared to be about to attack the gun site since they were flying in line astern formation in the direction of the site. Although a burst of machine gun fire came from one of the planes, and he was standing quite unprotected by any form of emplacement, L/Bdr Thayer opened fire with his Bren Gun. The approach of the aircraft was turned away from the site, five planes flying to one side and six to the other. He engaged each plane as it appeared and one plane appeared to be hit a large number of times.
By his exemplary conduct and coolness in action, L/Bdr Thayer set a very fine example to the remainder of the section and saved the gun site.
Thayer’s Military Medal was announced in the London Gazette on 20 December 1940.
Thayer served on throughout the war, and at some point he was also mentioned in dispatches. In 1944 he was a Battery Quartermaster Sergeant with the 80th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Brigade. 80th HAA Brigade came directly under the command of 21st Army Group in the invasion of Europe.
BQMS Thayer died on 8 October 1944, at the age of 31, and is buried in Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery in France. He may have died of illness in hospital as Dieppe was some way behind the front line, or his anti-aircraft unit may have been stationed there.