Thomas “Tony” Smallwood. RIP. 1941-2013
Tony Smallwood was a formidable man and aviator with a career spanning over 40 years as both as a commercial pilot, training captain and mentor to people like me (Ed) who took up flying privately.
In later years he retired in Thailand where he followed his passion for flying and conservation, often combining the two.
Amongst Tony’s largesse was his unstinting support for wild life conservation, both on and off shore.
He encouraged people from all walks of life to apply their passion to conservation, utilising any and all skills they might possess, not just financial contributions. The Turtle and Dugong conservation projects were two of many he was involved in.
Tony was the genesis behind The Flying Scouts. He “convinced” Ed to “Do something useful with his newly minted Private Pilot’s License”.
The first Dugong Survey Flights were Tony’s ideas, and we are grateful for his encouragement and support throughout our precious time with him.
Tony’s biggest project in Thailand was the ongoing rehabilitation of Gibbons which have been abused or abandoned as pets from the tourist industry or animal research. Tony was a founding member of the Wild Animal Rescue Foundation of Thailand, (WARF)
Over the past twenty years, WARF with Tony’s relentless efforts have become the most successful Gibbon rehabilitation project worldwide. The original Gibbon project is located on a National forest preserve in Phuket, but it is fast running out of space, and since Phuket is undergoing massive building development there is no prospect of securing suitable sites on the island.
Sad to hear of Tony’s passing. I knew Tony when I was a young man. I used to hang around with him and his crew in the early 70’s when he used to compete in Competition Enterprise a gliding competition at the Devon and Somerset gliding club (UK). He was a really nice and generous man. A good tennis player too.
Thank you for the comment about Tony, Roland. I had the pleasure of knowing him in Thailand after he retired, and came to admire and respect him greatly both as a pilot and dear personal friend. He helped many aspiring aviators including myself and his legacy still remains to this day. I miss him sorely…