Tributes have been paid to an RAF sergeant who died while serving in Cyprus.

Sergeant Gareth Thomas, who joined the RAF in July 1997, and deployed to Cyprus as part of Joint Force Support (Middle East) in March 2023, died from natural causes, the Royal Air Force has announced.

He will be repatriated to RAF Brize Norton on Thursday.

Squadron Leader A-J Littlefield, Officer Commanding Logistic Squadron RAF Coningsby, said Sgt Thomas was an “integral member of the Logistics Sqn and hugely respected amongst all who knew him”. 

“His efforts in each of the many roles he fulfilled at RAF Coningsby will be seen and felt for years to come.

“A professional in work, he always got the job done.

“This with a brilliant sense of humour, his colleagues and friends loved to work with him. Always with a big grin and an ‘Alright bud’ greeting, he could brighten the darkest of days.”

Lieutenant Colonel Damion Moxon, Commanding Officer Joint Force Support (Middle East), said: “Sergeant Gareth Thomas was a hugely talented and greatly admired member of Joint Force Support, providing urgent logistic support to UK service personnel deployed throughout the far reaches of the Middle East.

“Most recently he extended this expertise to supporting the UK’s operations in Sudan. 

“He was a much-valued friend and colleague, who will be sorely missed. 

“Our heartfelt sympathies are with his family at this difficult terrible time.” 

In Cyprus, Sgt Thomas was responsible for the critical task of getting priority freight to the right place to support UK forces deployed throughout the region.

Affectionately known as Gaz, he completed an operational deployment to Afghanistan with Tactical Supply Wing (TSW) B Flight and in January 2013 received the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

The RAF said Sgt Thomas was a central figure in social activities, renowned for his culinary skills, frequently feeding most of the squadron at events as ‘king of the barbecue’.

He was also a keen online DJ and had a huge following through his live-streamed sets as DJ Itchy. 

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