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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.

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100 Squadron Crest
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

Serial: JB604

Coded: HW-S

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


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"


The Marly Lancaster Memorial (courtesy Joe Perry - original photograph sent in by Fabrice Loubette)

Left: Eckart-Willhelm von Bonin (courtesy Kracker Archive)(1) Hptm. Bonin survived the war with a total of 35 claims.

Burial Details:

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). Son of Thomas and Norah Turner (née Phillips) of the Foryd Hotel, Rhyl, North Wales.

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?

The well looked after crew graves (courtesy Joe Perry)

With many thanks to Joe Perry who contacted us in June 2017 - further details of Sgt. Patrick Turner added. For further details our thanks to the sources quoted below.

KTY 13.06.2017 New photos and information added

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 13 June 2017, 16:08

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