I believe that Bernard Jones was born in the September quarter of 1921 (Hawarden Vol. 11b Page 408) the son of Edmund & Alice Jones (nee Chester(s)) who, I also believe, married in the December quarter of 1918 at the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Poyser Street, Wrexham (Wrexham A29/01/20).
I have no information on Bernard Jones in his early or teenage years, and he is not seen on the 1939 National Register with the rest of his large family, so he could very well already be in the Royal Air Force. Any information would be gratefully received so we can make sure that Bernard is remembered for his sacrifice.
Bernard’s family, in 1939 were living at 26, Hawarden Road, Abermorddu, Caergwrle, Hawarden, Flintshire. The National Register was taken on the 29th September 1939 and it is this source that gives us the dates of birth of all the members of the household, except the retracted or closed records*, of which there are 6 in this household of 11 people.
* For individual people, records remain closed for a century after their birth (the 100-year rule), unless it can be proven that they passed away before this milestone.
So the remaining 5 people in the household are Edmund Jones, whose date of birth is given as the 30th May 1892 and he is a Steel Furnace Man, (Heavy Work). Alice Jones’s date of birth is the 12th November 1891 and as most women on this register, who do not have a job, is described as doing “ Unpaid Domestic Duties.” Hilda Jones was born on the 7th December 1918 and she was an unemployed Housemaid, and single. Edmund G. Jones, had been born on the 6th January 1920, he was single and a Scrap Metal Cutter (Heavy Work). Amy Jones had been born on the 18th June 1926 and was “At School.” I believe that Hilda went on to marry Edwin A. Hampton in a Civil ceremony at Wrexham in the March quarter of 1940 (Wrexham County Borough (Wrexham) WM/11A/104) and Amy also married, I believe, a David T. Williams at the Methodist Church, Castle Street, Caergwrle in the September quarter of 1947 (Flintshire (Mold) A107/01/E7)
As I cannot find Bernard on any documents that connect him to this family, except his birth entry with a mother’s maiden name as Chesters, and the Commonwealth War Graves Citation, I would like help to make sure that I have the right family in the records I found for an Edmund Jones. Bernard’s father, who if I am right, was in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in their Territorial Force for 3 years, 270 days, from the 25th April 1911. He was Embodied in the 4th Bn of the R.W.F from the 5th August 1914 to the 17th November 1914, as he was Medically unfit for further Service under (Para 156 xi).
Any help to confirm or deny I am with the right family would be gratefully received.
However, whenever Bernard enlisted or was conscripted he found himself in 69 Squadron as part of the ground crew of the 6069 Servicing Eschelon in Melsbroek Air Base in Belgium.
No. 69 Squadron RAF
The designation No. 69 Squadron has been used by the Royal Air Force for two quite different units.
No. 3 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps was formed at Point Cook, Victoria, Australia in 1916. To avoid confusion with No. 3 Squadron, RFC, it was known to the British military as “No. 69 Squadron RFC”, although this terminology was never accepted by the squadron or the Australian Imperial Force.
The squadron was “re-formed” on 10 January 1941 during World War II, when No. 431 (General Reconnaissance) Flight RAF, briefly re-designated as No. 1431 Flight RAF. on Malta became No. 69 Squadron. It carried out strategic reconnaissance missions mainly using Martin Marylands until May 1942 when Spitfires began to carry out all reconnaissance missions. These were later supplemented by Martin Baltimores for shipping reconnaissance and anti-submarine patrols until April 1944 when the Squadron returned to the UK.
No. 69 re-assembled at RAF Northolt on 5 May 1944 as part of No. 34 Wing of the Second Tactical Air Force equipped with Vickers Wellington XIIIs for night reconnaissance duties, beginning operations on the eve of D-Day, using flares to locate enemy troop movements. In September the Squadron moved to France and Belgium until 7 May 1945, the Squadron disbanding on 7 August 1945.
On 8 August 1945, 613 Squadron at Cambrai-Epinoy, France, was renumbered No. 69 Squadron, flying Mosquito FB.VI fighter-bombers until it was again disbanded on 31 March 1946. The next day, 180 Squadron was renumbered No. 69 at Wahn again equipped with Mosquito light bombers until again disbanded on 6 November 1947.
The next extract is the report from the Operational Records and describes what happened to Bernard and others that day.
Excerpt from the Operations Record Book of No. 69 Squadron R.A.F. B.L..A for 1st January 1945 – MELSBROECK:-
“To start the year, the Squadron suffered a severe blow when eleven of its aircraft were completely destroyed and two severely? damaged, in the enemy’s New Year Offensive. At about 09.30 hours on January 1st approximately 40 F.W. 190 and M.E 109’s attacked the airfield with little opposition, causing considerable damage and some casualties. Five of the ground crew of the servicing eschelon (6069) were either killed, or died shortly after as a result of wounds and twenty five of the others were injured, for when the attack commenced they were out at the Maperoole* working on aircraft and the nearest cover was too far away to be of value.”
*This word was typed over a line and is very hard to read.
Melsbroek Air Base – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The aerodrome was created by German military during World War II. Melsbroek also was operated by the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) and the RAF during World War II (after the 1944 liberation) when it was known as B58 Melsbroek.
Operation Bodenplatte, the German aerial attack of 1 January 1945, hit Melsbroek hard. According to Emil Clade (leading III./JG 27), the AAA positions were not manned, and aircraft were bunched together or in lines, which made perfect targets. The attack caused considerable damage among the units based there and was a great success. The Recce Wings had lost two entire squadrons worth of machines. No. 69 Squadron RAF lost 11 Vickers Wellingtons and two damaged. Possibly all No. 140 Squadron RAF′s Mosquitoes were lost. At least five Spitfires from No. 16 Squadron RAF were destroyed. No. 271 Squadron RAF lost at least seven Harrow transports “out of action”. A further 15 other aircraft were destroyed. 139 Wing reported five B-25s destroyed and five damaged. Some 15 to 20 USAAF bombers were also destroyed. Another source states that 13 Wellingtons were destroyed, as were five Mosquitoes, four Auster and five Avro Ansons from the Tactical Air Forces 2nd Communications Squadron. Three Spitfires were also lost and two damaged. At least one RAF Transport Command Douglas Dakota was destroyed.
Operation Bodenplatte – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Operation Bodenplatte (Baseplate), launched on 1 January 1945, was an attempt by the Luftwaffe to cripple Allied air forces in the Low Countries during the Second World War. The goal of Bodenplatte was to gain air superiority during the stagnant stage of the Battle of the Bulge so that the German Army and Waffen-SS forces could resume their advance. The operation was planned for 16 December 1944, but was delayed repeatedly due to bad weather until New Year’s Day, the first day that happened to be suitable.
Secrecy for the operation was so tight that not all German ground and naval forces had been informed of the operation and some units suffered casualties from friendly fire. British signals intelligence recorded the movement and buildup of German air forces in the region, but did not realise that an operation was imminent.
The operation achieved some surprise and tactical success, but was ultimately a failure. A great many Allied aircraft were destroyed on the ground but replaced within a week. Allied aircrew casualties were quite small, since the majority of Allied losses were grounded aircraft. The Germans, however, lost many pilots who could not be readily replaced.
Post-battle analysis suggests only 11 of the Luftwaffe’s 34 air combat Gruppen (groups) made attacks on time and with surprise. The operation failed to achieve air superiority, even temporarily, while the German ground forces continued to be exposed to Allied air attack. Bodenplatte was the last large-scale strategic offensive operation mounted by the Luftwaffe during the war.
Leading Aircraftman Bernard JONES (1535818) of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Circumstances of Death: One of the five airmen killed during an enemy air attack as part of Operation Boddenplate
Death of Death 1945-01-01 Age : 23 years.
Served in 6069 SE
Burial/Commemoration Details : X. 27. 5. at Brussels Town Cemetery, Belgium (Map)
More Details: SON OF EDMUND AND ALICE JONES, OF ABERMORDDU, FLINTSHIRE.
So sadly Bernard was in the wrong place at the wrong time, so cruelly being in the middle of the raid and so near to the war’s end.
He was loved by his large family and they made sure he would be remembered for perpetuity by adding his name to the Hope WW2 War Memorial.
IN SACRED SLEEP HE RESTS