Edgar Jones DFC and bar RCAF and crew - 103 Squadron
Edgar Thompson Jones ( pictured above ) was born in Moose Jaw, Canada in 1920 and later moved to Edmonton where he enlisted in November 1941. He trained at No 7 ITS, No 1 EFTS and No 5 SFTS where he graduated on the 20th November 1942.
He was transferred to 103 Squadron in the Autumn of 1943 as a Sergeant pilot and he and his crew commenced operations on the night of the 8/9th October 1943 taking part in a raid on Hannover. The raid was very accurate and concentrated and much damage was done to the centre of the city including the important Continental Rubber Factory and Hanomag machine tool works which were badly damaged. Sergeant Jones and his crew completed the operation successfully.
Sergeant Jones’ excellent crew consisted of :-
Sergeant E T Jones RCAF - Pilot.
Sergeant A J Pugh RAFVR - Flight Engineer.
Flight Sergeant J Sutherland RNZAF replaced after their second operation by Sergeant J C Johnson RAFVR - Air Bomber.
Flying Officer E N Hooke RCAF - Navigator. ( pictured below left )
Sergeant F C Smith RAFVR - Wireless Operator.
Flying Officer J R Boyes RCAF - Air Gunner.
Sergeant S Willis RAFVR - Air Gunner.
Flight Sergeant Sutherland was killed whilst flying with the crew of Warrant Officer R Stevens RAF on the night of the 18/19th October 1943 in another raid on Hannover.
Flying Officer Edwin Norman Hooke was a Canadian from Toronto and enlisted in September 1941. He completed his training as a navigator and was commissioned in September 1942.
Flying Officer J R ‘Bob’ Boyes was a citizen of the United States of America who had enlisted in the RCAF and was the mid upper gunner in the crew.
The winter of 1943/44 was a most demanding one for the Bomber Command crews with many deep penetrations into German airspace against fierce opposition. Berlin was the prime target and this period of the RAF offensive came to be known as the Battle of Berlin with the German capital targeted many times.
Sergeant Jones was promoted to Pilot Officer in December 1943 and throughout November and December 1943 he and his crew flew 8 operations, six of which were to Berlin. On the night of the 20/21st December 1943 P/O Jones and his crew took part in a raid on Frankfurt but they were forced to abort their mission due to electrical failure to the turrets of their Lancaster. All other sorties were completed successfully.
During January 1944 they successfully completed four raids to Berlin and one to Magdeburg. The raid to Berlin on the night of the 30/31st January was particularly hectic and they were attacked three times by an Fw190 night fighter. The first attack was unseen and caused most damage to the Lancaster. The Fishpond early warning device gave no warning of the attack although several Lancasters were registered at the time. The Squadron records state that this suggests that the fighter approached from slightly above and out of range of the early warning device and had dipped below the level of the Lancaster to attack from underneath and behind in a position where the Fishpond could not register. P/O Jones was able to evade the second attack thanks to the warnings of his gunners but the Lancaster sustained some further damage. The third attack was evaded completely and contact with the fighter was lost. During the first two attacks the Lancaster lost the use of one engine, the rear and mid upper turrets were rendered unserviceable, the starboard tail-plane and elevator and fuselage were damaged whilst one of the bomb doors was almost shot away. In addition some stores caught fire but these were jettisoned. The aircraft was most difficult to control and some height was lost and P/O Jones aborted the mission, bombing flak concentrations and then returning to base.
P/O Jones was awarded a well deserved DFC for his skilful flying, courage and cool captaincy during this most difficult flight.
The crew resumed operations on the night of the 24/25th February 1944 taking part in an attack on Schweinfurt.
On the night of the 24/25th March they flew their last mission to Berlin and 6 nights later took part in the disastrous raid on Nuremberg in which the RAF lost over 100 bombers. Further raids to German targets followed in April and P/O Jones and his crew completed their tour on the night of the 23/24th April 1944 with a mining sortie to Bornholm and the Pomeranian Bay.
P/O Jones and his crew were screened after 27 operations 12 of which had been to Berlin. Of the remainder all but the last mining sortie had been to heavily defended German targets.
F/O Hooke was awarded a DFC at the completion of the tour for his excellent navigation throughout and P/O Jones received a well deserved bar to his DFC for the way he had captained his crew in completing a most demanding tour of operations. Both P/O Jones, F/O Hooke and F/O Boyes were posted 82 OTU soon after completion of their last operation.
All the members of this excellent crew survived the war as far as I am aware and Edgar Jones was presented with his DFC and bar on the 29th November 1947. He was only the second 103 Squadron airman to receive 2 DFCs whilst flying with 103 Squadron. The other was Leonard Pipkin.
Post-war Edgar became a renowned naturalist, wild life photographer, film maker and environmentalist in his native Canada. He passed away in Sept 2011.
Written by David Fell - Photos courtesy of Canadian Archives