Frank Thomas Edward Jones was born on the 13th May 1924, according to the Hawarden Grammar School Admissions Register and his birth was registered in Hawarden (Hawarden Vol. 11b Page 327).
He was the son of Edward & Elizabeth May Jones (nee Ruffell) who had married at Christ Church, Chester (Cheshire West CE11/3/165) in the September quarter of 1923.
Edward Jones was from a very large family, we see him on the 1911 census living at 35, Chainmakers Row, Saltney with his family in 4 rooms. Head of the household was his father, also named Edward, 46, a General Labourer at the Ironworks, born in St. Marys’, Chester. His wife, Mary, 39 had been born in St. John’s, Chester. They tell us that they had been married 22 years and that 13 children had been born to them, but sadly one had died. The children were John, 21, Single and a Sheet Repairer (G.W.R. Sheet Dept.) born St. Johns, Chester. William Edward, 18 and Single, a Forge Labourer (Iron Works) born St. Mary’s, Saltney. Florence, Single and 16, born St. Mary’s, Saltney as was Thomas, 14, a Sheet Repairer (G.W.R. Sheet Dept.). Peter, 12 , Edward, 10, Gertrude, 8, Charles, 6, Ada, 4, all at school and Dan, 3, with Baby Martha, 1, all born Flintshire County.
Elizabeth May Jones (nee Ruffell) is seen on the same 1911 census living at her Grandmother Elizabeth Jones’s house at 32, Lyon Street, Chester in 3 rooms. Elizabeth Jones was Head of the household, a widow and Old age Pensioner, age 71. The writing is smudged over the years she had been married but she tell us that 11 children had been born to her and 7 had died, leaving her with 4 living children. She had been born in Llandrindodd. Her daughter Ada Jane Ruffell, 31 told us that 6 children had been born and sadly 2 died. Her husband, Thomas Arthur, 36 tells us that he has been married for 11 years, and he was a Stone Mason for Chester Corporation. Their children, Elizabeth May, 10, Gladys Amelia, 7 and Harold David, 6 were at school. Baby William Arthur, 2 made up the family unit. They had all been born in Chester.
I do not know anything about Frank Thomas Edward Jones’s childhood or teen years, we see him for the first time on the Hawarden Grammar School Admissions Register E/GS/1/10: –
1734/2514 JONES, Frank Thomas Edward Date of birth – 13th May 1924, 44, Salisbury Ave., Saltney, Father – Engine Shed LMS. Date of Entry – 18th September 1934, Wood N.P., Saltney, Date of leaving – 27th July 1939.
Just after he leaves school on the 27th July 1939, the National Register is taken on the 29th September 1939 and we do see the family now living at 44 Salisbury Avenue , Saltney,Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales. This source gives us the dates of birth of each occupant. Edward Jones was born on the 10th December 1900 and he was a Railway Cleaner, Passed For F? (Heavy Work). Elizabeth May Jones had been born on the 6th May 1900 and as most women without a job were described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.” Frank Thomas E. Jones’s birth date was the 13th May 1924 and he was single and a Junior Clerk. Stanley Howard Jones had been born on the 17th January 1927 and was at School. Frank’s youngest brother, Clive Edward Jones had been born on the 18th May 1938 and was under School age. There was a boarder, Joseph Eaton, born on the 14th August 1913 and a Constructors Labourer (Heavy Work).
Very shortly after war was declared he must volunteered as he found himself in 101 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, but I have no information when, please if anyone can add anything to Frank’s story it would be gratefully received.
The crew that Frank was destined to lose his life with on the 12th/13th August 1944 were:-
F/S JENKINS, H.R.; Sgt. BALLINGER, W.S.; F/S HORROCKS, T.; Sgt. SPEAR, T.G.; Sgt. MYLES, j.; Sgt. THORLEY, j. and Sgt. CAVE, B.H.
They were to go on 4 other missions in August before Frank was to join them. On these missions, Sgt B.H.Hawkins was in the position that Frank took over on the fateful flight, it seems that this was the first one with the other crew. Was this Frank’s first flight?
OTHER MISSIONS WITH THE SAME CREW – bar Frank – Sgt. HAWKINS, B.H. took his place.
Page 5 – 3rd August 1944 Duty – TROSST St. MARIMIN – Lancaster I.ME.617 “N” Took off at 11.40 – Down at 16.20 LOAD 11 x1000lb.MC. or GP. 4 x 500lb.MC. or GP. Visually at 14.17 hrs form 12.00’ Hdg 240TIAS 175mph. Well concentrated.
Page 8 – 4th August 1944 – Duty – PANILLAC – Again with Sgt. HAWKINS instead of Frank – Lancaster I.ME.617 “N” Took off at 13.35 Down at 21.45. LOAD 4 x 1000lb.MC 4 x 1000lb. USA.GP 1 X 1000lb.USA.SAP 2 x 500lb. GP. Visually and T.I.Y. at 16.02 (or 18.02)hrs from 7000’ Hdg 105T. IAS 170 mph. Very concentrated. Master Bomber heard clearly.
Page 14 – 7th August 1944 Duty – FONTENEY LE MARMION. Again with Sgt. HAWKINS instead of Frank – Lancaster I.ME.617 “N” – Took off at 21.30 down at 01.40 LOAD 7 x 1000lb. USA .GP. 4 x 1000lb USA. SAP. 4X 500lb.GP – Mission abandoned over target as instructed.
Page 17 – 9th August 1944 Duty – CHATELLERAULT – Again with Sgt. HAWKINS instead of Frank – Lancaster I.ME.592 “D” Took off at 20.55 down at 05.00 LOAD 6 x 1000lb. USA .GP. 3 x 1000lb USA. SAP. 4X 500lb.GP Visually & T.I.G. at 00.10 ½ hrs from 9,500’ Hdg 130T. IAS 180mph. Scattered bombing.
On the 12th August 1944 Lancaster lll ME617 took off from Ludford Magna at 21.27 with the crew on an ABC* support on the Opel Factory at Russelsheim. Could the plane have been shot down, or was it flak or engine trouble?
*Please see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._101_Squadron_RAF below.
The Operational Records tell us Lancaster lll ME617 is “Missing – nothing heard of since take-off.” They obviously got over the Channel and into Germany as they are buried in Germany.
The sole survivor of the crew of 8 (ABC crew) was the rear gunner Sgt Bert H Cave, who on repatriation was unable to give an account of the night he was shot down. According to http://www.rafcommands.com/database/serials/details.php?uniq=ME617 – Lancaster III ME617. Many thanks to the members of this website, without their help, many of my researches into our local R.A.F. lads would have been poorer without their help.
The Commonwealth War Grave Commission Graves Concentration Report Form tells us that they were first buried, probably near where they crashed, at Gross Gerau Civ. Cemetery. Then the Graves Registration Report Form tells us that on the 1st November 1947, they were reburied in the Durnbach War Cemetery in a Collective grave, Coll. grave 7. F. 12-17.
Frank is remembered at https://losses.internationalbcc.co.uk/loss/112404
International Bomber Command – JONES, FRANK THOMAS EDWARD
Frank’s mother died on the 28th June 1978 age 77 years, and his father Edward Jones died in the December quarter of 1984 (Clwyd Vol. 24, Page 41.) They would have both been alive to be at the Remembrance Service when the Roll of Honour was dedicated at Hawarden Grammar School on the 3rd February 1951 with a Remembrance Service for the 47* former pupils who died in the 1939 – 1945 World War. As recorded in the Chester Chronicle Saturday 10th February 1951.
*Author’s note, there are 46 names on the Roll of Honour, clerical error by the newspaper.
“I BARE YOU ON EAGLES’ WINGS, AND BROUGHT YOU UNTO MYSELF”