24/25.02.1944 No. 100 Squadron Lancaster III JB604 HW-S F/O. V.L.B. Jones
Operation: Schweinfurt, Germany (Ball bearing factories)
Date: 24/25th February 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 100 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Grimsby (Wlatham)
Location: Marly, France
Pilot: F/O. Vernon Llewelyn Bowen Jones 133632 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. K.E.J. Head 1800297 RAFVR PoW No: 1188 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus (357)
Nav: F/O. R.T. Garlick NZ/414609 RNZAF PoW No: 3530 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria (L3)
Air/Bmr: P/O. John Carter Grindrod 172155 RAFVR Age 33. Killed
W/op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Joseph Henry Sullivan 1294908 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Patrick Anthony Turner 1661472 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Maurice Herbert Messenger 1351107 RAFVR Age ? Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
JB604 took off from RAF Grimsby (Wlatham), Lincolnshire at 18:16hrs. to join a massive attacking force of 734 aircraft made up from 460 Lancasters, 169 Halifaxes and 11 Mosquitoes to attack the German main production area of ball bearings. The plan was to split the force into two halves separated with a 2 hour interval.
This did work with 22 aircraft being lost on the first raid but half that number on the second and the majority of losses on the second wave were caused by flak. 362 People were killed on the ground from this raid and one from the previous night by American bombers. A total of 33 aircraft were lost with 3 from 100 Squadron alone.
JB604 was on the first wave and although some reports state that it was shot down by flak, we have further information that it is possible (Indeed claimed) that it was shot down by a German night fighter ace, Hptm. Eckart-Willhelm von Bonin (1) of II./NJG1 over Marly at a height of 6.000m. Attack occurred at 21:48hrs. The starboard inner fuel tank began to burn. The order to bale-out was given by F/O. Jones, but only two managed to do so before the Lancaster blew up crashing at location shown.
F/O. Vernon Llewelyn Bowen Jones - Local children visit the grave "Heros Allies"
Mural painted on houses in Mally - dedicated to this crew (courtesy Fabrice Loubette)
Eckart-Willhelm von Bonin
(1) Hptm. Bonin survived the war with a total of 35 claims.
F/O. Vernon Llewelyn Bowen Jones. Marly Communal Cemetery. Grave 4. From Pontardawe district, Breconshire / Glamorgan, Wales.
P/O. John Carter Grindrod. Marly Communal Cemetery. Grave 1. Son of John and Emily Beatrice, husband of Bessie Mary, of Kettering, Northamptonshire, England.
Fl/Sgt. Joseph Henry Sullivan. Marly Communal Cemetery. Grave 2-3 (Collective). Son of Joseph and Evelyn Mary, of Rainham, Essex, England.
Sgt. Patrick Anthony Turner. Marly Communal Cemetery. Grave 2-3 (Collective). NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?
Sgt. Maurice Herbert Messenger. Marly Communal Cemetery. Grave 2-3 (Collective). NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?
For further details our thanks to the sources quoted below.