Casualty of the Great War,Michael was a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps.
He was 34 and the son of the late Major George Thunder (7th Battalion Royal Fusiliers)of Lagore, Meath,and of Margaret Pugin (formerly Thunder).
He was the grandson, on his mother's side,of Augustus Northmore Welby Pugin
, a leading architect of Victorian Britain and famous for his Gothic style of architecture in many churches around the country, his most famous work being the Palace of Westminster in London.He designed the church where he and Michael rest.
He was educated at St. Augustine's College,Ramsgate,commissioned in December 1915, qualified as a Pilot on the 16th January 1916 at the Military School in Ruislip,and gazetted Flying Officer in March 1916.
He was the first airman to be killed serving with 51 squadron.
Six officers of the Flying Corps acted as pall-bearers, and the officer in command arrived by aeroplane.
He had qualified as a mining engineer and spent some time working in Argentina and Malaya before returning to the UK.
51 Squadron was formed at Thetford, Norfolk on 15 May 1916 as a Home Defence unit. The squadron flew BE2s and BE12s on anti-Zeppelin patrols, the unit also providing night flying training for newly qualified pilots with Avro 504Ks.
From September 1916, units of 51 Squadron Home Defence were based at Marham but also used airfields dotted about the county for training exercises such as night flying. (Mattishall, Earsham, Freethorpe, Gooderstone, Warren, Mousehold Heath, Saxthorpe, Sedgeford, Sporle, Tottenhill and West Rudham).
On 24th September 1916 Michael scrambled from Mattishall to intercept an attack from a dozen Zeppelin airships that were reported to have crossed the North Sea to attack London and the East coast.
According to the death certificate his machine failed to gain enough height on take off and crashed.
There are reports that, although badly burnt, he managed to crawl away from the aircraft to a nearby hedgerow bank where he was picked up and taken to Thorpe St. Andrew War Hospital in Norwich but he later died of his injuries.
Buried on September 29th.