19/20.02.1944 No. 35 (Madras Presidency) Squadron Halifax III LV834 TL-N F/O. Randall Vincent "Joey" Jones
Operation: Leipzig, Germany
Date: 19/20 February 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: No. 35 (Madras Presidency) Squadron - Motto: "Uno Animo Agimus" ("We act with one accord")
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Graveley, Huntingdonshire now Cambridgeshire
Location: Gohre, Stendal, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
Pilot: F/O. Randall Vincent "Joey" Jones 139585 RAFVR Age 23 - Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. W.A. Jefferies 649859 - PoW No. 3549 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus - 357 (2)
Nav: P/O. Horatius Douglas Stewart White DFM 168627 RAFVR PoW No. 3518 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria - L3 (3)
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Ronald Booth 1549733 RAFVR - Killed (4)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/Sgt. Thomas Donald Henderson 1126958 RAFVR Age 21 - Killed (5)
Air/Gnr (MU): F/Sgt. Gerald P. Carrel DFM 1319244 RAFVR Age 20 - Killed (6)
Air/Gnr (R): Fl/Lt. James Walter Warren DFC 126722 RAFVR Age 23 - Killed (7)
We appeal to any relatives of the crew with further information and/or photographs to please contact us via the Helpdesk
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Graveley at 00.03hrs on 20 February to bomb Leipzig, Saxony, Germany.
The aircraft carried the following bomb load: 1 x 4LB G/R Stars, 2 x TI LB Green, 2 x TI Green 3 x 1000 MC T Ind, 1 x 500 MC TI and 1 Flares Red Steady.
Special Equipment on board the aircraft was: IFF, Gee, Monica, H2S, Fishpond, Mod. Rudder and 'Y' API GTI see abbreviations
Route as briefed per Bomber Command Report on Night Operations and RAF Loss Cards: Cromer - 5400N 0400E - 5240N 0810E - 5237N 1152E - 5200N 1255E - Leipzig
A total force of 823 aircraft comprised of 561 Lancasters, 255 Halifaxes and 7 Mosquitoes was sent on this long distance bombing raid on Leipzig. As well as being an important railway intersection Leipzig was home to the Erla Maschinenwerk that was producing the Messerschmitt Bf109 under license at three locations in the city namely Heiterblick, Abtnaundorf and Mockau. Diversionary attacks were made by Mosquito aircraft on Berlin, Stendal and Mindon together with a minelaying operation in Kiel harbour.
Night fighters were assembled in the Hamburg area in wait for the minelayers moving towards the Danish coast but the attacks on the Dutch airfields probably deterred the fighter controllers from diverting the whole force to Kiel and those that were diverted were quickly recalled.
The result was that the bomber stream was met by almost 300 night fighters soon after crossing the enemy coast and continued to be harassed all the way to the target and for a good deal of the homeward journey. The problem was further compounded by winds not being as forecast thus causing some aircraft to arrive early over the target and having to orbit whilst waiting for the pathfinders to arrive.
The target was covered in 10/10ths cloud; there was a quarter moon and visibility described as fair. The sky-marker flares were at first well concentrated but later became more scattered and the subsequent bombing was spread over a wide area.
Zero hour was 04:00 hrs and at Zero-2 30 Primary Blind Markers and 55 Supporters commenced the attack. 14 Blind Markers, 11 Special Blind Markers and 25 Visual Backers Up were spread throughout the main force that continued the attack until 04:19hrs. 650 aircraft reported bombing the target and dropped a total of 2300 tons of bombs.
Active opposition from ground defences was encountered at Emden, Bremen, Hanover, Frankfurt and Rotterdam as well as over the target itself. Flak accounted for at least 20 bombers and 27 were known to have been brought down by the night fighters. Most of the other 31 losses were also thought to have been due to night fighters. The 78 aircraft lost represented an extraordinarily large 9.5% of the total force and a further 70 aircraft aborted the mission. 420 aircrew were killed and 131 captured.
During the afternoon of the same day more than 200 American Flying Fortresses attacked the aircraft factories of Leipzig with great accuracy and much of the damage revealed in the reconnaissance photographs taken later in the week must be attributed to them. A total of 970 people were killed by the two raids most of them by the British night raid.
Taking off from RAF Graveley a few minutes after midnight F/O. Randall Vincent Joey Jones was beginning his 29th mission. The bomb load carried by the aircraft identified it as one of the fourteen Blind Backers-up that were dispersed among the main force to keep the target marked throughout the raid.
Weather over base was described as broken strato-cumulous, base 2-3000' tops 5000' and moderate visibility. En route strato-cumulous increased to 10/10ths tops 5-6000' and though there were some breaks over the Dutch coast the 10/10ths cloud cover resumed further along the route and over the target.
Some 80 miles short of the target at 03:20hrs Halifax LV834 was attacked with devastating effect by a night fighter piloted by Oblt. Martin "Tino" Becker of 1./NJG6. See Kracker Archive on this site for details of Becker. (8)
Navigator P/O. Horatius Douglas Stewart White described the attack.
'Aircraft attacked and rear gunner reported his turret on fire. 'Prepare' order given and Navigator bent down to release escape hatch aircraft lurched to starboard and went into a spin, Bomb aimer and Navigator thrown to nose of aircraft as the spin was so violent they were unable to move. Navigator doesn't remember any more 'til he was on the ground and saw the aircraft crash about 400 yards away. Morning after Navigator's capture, Fight Engineer was brought in with head injuries and injured left leg. Flight Engineer did not know what had happened to the rest but said the aircraft had blown up. Among equipment collected was a boot of Air Gunner (? Mid Upper Gunner). Later told 2 were dead and shown diagram of tail turret. At Dulag Luft told Flight Engineer and Navigator were the only survivors.
Flying along at 1500 (deletion) suddenly a bump as if we were hit by flak or cannon. Aircraft sides ripped to pieces and shuddered and Bomb Aimer and I reached for chutes. Navigator got one hook on, when kite twisted over were thrown on floor. Started to spin to starboard. Pilot said jump and spin made Navigator dazed. Tried to struggle to hatch - weird sense of being pulled thro' air by his oxygen tubes. Recovered consciousness with head on ground in snow and feet (-----------) in tree. Open chute (and oxygen tubes) some feet away. Bleeding from head, nose and arm. Saw tail of aircraft spinning to ground. Bombs exploding in fuselage. Farm cart brought in Flight Engineer who said aircraft blew up'.
The five dead crew members were initially buried at Gohre on 25 February 1944 and later re-interred at the Berlin 1939 - 1945 War Cemetery.
Scale 1" = 90 miles
35 Squadron provided 17 aircraft for this mission of which four were lost, the other three being:
Halifax HX325 TL-J - Sqn/Ldr. Douglas Julian Sale D.S.O. and Bar, D.F.C. J/9929 RCAF - Primary Marker. One crew member was killed, five became prisoners of war and Sqn/Ldr. Sale died on 20.03.1944 as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.
Halifax LV793 TL-B - Fl/Lt. W. McTurk 67683 - Blind Backer-up. Four of the crew were killed and three were made prisoners of war.
Halifax LV864 TL-O - F/O. Keith George McAlpine Aus/412623 RAAF - Blind Backer-up. Three of the crew were killed and four made prisoners of war, one of whom died later.
Four members of the crew of Halifax LV834 had escaped an earlier crash on 28 August 1943 when after taking off from RAF Graveley at 21:56hrs (27th August) in Halifax HR914 TL-O to bomb Nurnberg and flying at 3000ft near High Wycombe, the port inner engine failed. Returning to base they crash landed at 00:06hrs: all the crew survived. The crew were:
Pilot: F/O Randall Vincent "Joey" Jones
FL/Eng: Sgt. W.A Jefferies
Nav: Fl/Sgt. V.H.R. Hobbs
Air/Bmr: Sgt. P.G. Smith
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Donald Henderson
Air/Gnr (M.U.): F/Sgt. Gerald Carrel
Air/Gnr (Rear): F/Sgt. A. Jung
(1) F/O. Randall Vincent "Joey" Jones - Born at Holywell, Flintshire in 1920 the son of Edward John Jones and Gladys Davies Jones nee Jones of Wrexham, Denbighshire. Commissioned as Pilot Officer (emergency) with effect from 8 September 1942 as announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette 23 March 1943 and promoted to Flying Officer (war subs) with effect from 9 April 1943 as announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette 11 June 1943.
(2) Sgt. W.A. Jefferies - nothing further known, can you help?
(3) Fl/Lt. Horatius Douglas Stewart White D.F.M. was born in 1922 at Corstorphine, Edinburgh, Scotland. Whilst serving as sergeant 1345698 RAFVR he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal as announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette of 22 October 1943. The citation reads:
'One night in July 1943 this airman was navigator of an aircraft detailed for an operation against Gelsenkirchen. On the outward flight, whilst many miles from the target, the bomber was his by anti-aircraft fire. Sergeant White sustained 3 wounds in the leg but, in spite of considerable pain, he continued to navigate the bomber to the target which was successfully attacked. On the return flight he made light of his injuries and remained at his station to navigate the aircraft safely back to base when he collapsed through loss of blood. Sergeant White displayed outstanding fortitude and courage, setting an example worthy of high praise.'
Sergeant White was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (serial number 168627) as announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette of 18 January 1944. Confirmation of his appointment to Pilot Officer and his promotion to Flying Officer (war subs) with effect from 8 May 1944 was announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette of 9 June 1944. His promotion to Flight Lieutenant with effect from 6 November 1945 was announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette of 30 November 1945.
(4) Sgt. Ronald Booth - Nothing further known, can you help?
(5) Fl/Sgt. Thomas Donald Henderson - Born at Gateshead, County Durham in 1922 the son of Thomas Henderson and Jane Henderson nee Hood of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.
(6) Fl/Sgt. Gerald P. Carrel DFM - Born c1923 the son of Mr and Mrs Philip Carrel and Stepson of Louise Carrel of Jersey, Channel Islands. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal as announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette of 10 March 1944. The citation reads:
'One night in January 1944, this airman was the rear gunner of an aircraft detailed to attack Berlin. When nearing the target a Junkers 88 was encountered. As the enemy aircraft came into the attack, Flight Sergeant Carrel opened fire and then directed his captain in the necessary combat manoeuvres. Two more attacks were repelled and finally a well directed burst of fire from Flight Sergeant Carrel's guns struck the enemy aircraft, which caught fire and fell to the ground. A few minutes later another fighter was encountered but, although the enemy aircraft attacked with great persistence, it was finally driven off. During these combats, Flight Sergeant Carrel displayed great coolness and resolution and his excellent work contributed materially to the safe return of the aircraft.'
(7) Fl/Lt. James Walter Warren DFC - Born at Derby in 1920 the son of Henry Hillary George Warren and Hilda Naomi Warren nee Marks of Derby. Commissioned as Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) with effect from 26 June 1942 as announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette 18 August 1942 Promoted to Flying Officer on probation (emergency) with effect from 26 December 1942 as announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette 2 April 1943. Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross whilst serving with 51 Squadron as announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette 14 May 1943.
(8) Hptm. Martin "Tino" Becker (left) Born 12 April 1916 at Weisbaden, Germany. He joined the Luftwaffe in 1940 initially with a reconnaissance unit before transferring in early 1943 to the Nachtjagd. From then until 1945 he flew 83 night fighter missions and claimed an incredible 58 victories. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with its higher grade Oak Leaves in recognition of extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Halifax LV834 was his 9th victory.
He died at Oberneisen, Rhein-Lahn-Kreis, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany on 8 February 2006 aged 89.
F/O. Randall Vincent Joey Jones Berlin 1939 - 1945 War Cemetery - Grave 8.E.9 (1)
His epitaph reads:
And fondest remembrance
Of our dear "Joey"
Peace, perfect peace.
Sgt. Ronald Booth - Berlin 1939 - 1945 War Cemetery - Grave 8.E.8 (4)
Fl/Sgt. Thomas Donald Henderson - Berlin 1939 - 1945 War Cemetery - Grave 8.E.7 (5)
His epitaph reads
Of everlasting remembrance.
Fl/Sgt. Gerald P. Carrel D.F.M. - Berlin 1939 - 1945 War Cemetery - Coll. Grave 8.G.1-16 (6)
His epitaph reads:
In silence fly
To the days you were with us
For memories never die.
Fl/Lt. James Walter Warren D.F.C. - Berlin 1939 - 1945 War Cemetery - Coll. Grave 8.G.1-16 (7)
His epitaph reads:
Hearts that loved you
In memory dear son,
You are with us yet.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - October 2015.
With thanks to the sources quoted below.