24th July 1944 23 Squadron Mosquito FB.VI HR236 Sq/Ldr. Rabone DFC
Date: 24th July 1944 (Monday)
Unit: No. 23 Squadron (motto: Semper Aggressus - 'Always on the attack'). 100 (BS) Group
Type: Mosquito FB.VI
Base: RAF Little Snoring, Norfolk
Location: Schleswig-Holstein area
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Paul Wattling Rabone DFC. NZ/2171 RNZAF Age 26. Killed
Nav: F/O. Frederick Charles Haver Jones DFC. 143416 RAFVR Age ? Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off on a Ranger to Peenemunde north western Germany at 09:12 hrs.
Failed to return. Understood to have been hit by light flak to the rear of the fuselage. Both crew attempted to bale out but it is thought they were too low as the parachute of F/O. Jones was found barely open.
F/O. Jones body was recovered from the sea shortly afterwards. The body of the pilot however, was washed up on Heligoland on the 02nd October 1944 and buried by the Germans on the island.
After the war his body was exhumed by Americans and buried erroneously at the US Military Cemetery at Ardennes. After the Air Ministry became involved he was then exhumed for the second time and buried at Hotton War Cemetery.
Burial and personal details:
Sq/Ldr. Paul Wattling Rabone DFC. Hotton War Cemetery. Grave XI.C.8. Born on the 2nd March 1918 Salisbury, Wiltshire. Moved to New Zealand around 1927. Awarded RAF short service commission on the 24th May 1938. Awarded his pilots badge on the 13th October 1938. Son of W/Cdr. Clarence Noble Rabone and Frances May Rabone (née Williams), of Walberton, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England and husband of Pamela Barbara Rabone (née Buchanan - later Quin), of Kairanga, Wellington, New Zealand. Served in 88 Squadron - Fairey Battle - 16 operational sorties, 145 Squadron - Hurricane - 26, 96 Squadron - Hurricane and Defiant - 33, 85 Squadron - Havoc - 5, 145 Squadron - Havoc and Boston -1, 29 Squadron - Beaufighter - 11, 488 Squadron - Beaufighter - 523 Squadron - Mosquito - 37 and 515 Squadron - Mosquito - 12. Credited with 9 enemy aircraft destroyed, 1 damaged and 3 more damaged on the water. DFC awarded whilst with 23 Squadron, gazetted 25th January 1944 A total of 1874 flying hours logged.
Note: His brother (shown left) F/O. Geoffrey Osbourne Rabone NZ/413214 RNZAF was shot down on an operation to Secqueville. Five of the 106 Squadron crew escaped injury but two lost their lives on Lancaster III LM641 ZN-D. (of the surviving 5, Sgt. K. Buck 1867845 was taken PoW 70446 at Bankan, near Kreulberg, Upper Silesia. 4 others evaded capture) Geoffrey Osbourne Rabone born at Gore on the 06th November 1921 became the New Zealand cricket captain 1953/54 to 1954/55. He died in Auckland on the 19th January 2006. The other evading crew members; F/O. A.A. Dilworth J/21747 RCAF, F/O. Stefan Agust Bjarnason RCAF, Fl/Sgt. J.W. MacNicol R/185934 RCAF. Killed; Sgt. Frederick George Ralph 910510 RAF and F/O. Jack Taylor NZ/421295 RNZAF.
F/O. Frederick Charles Haver Jones DFC. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 10.E.9. DFC awarded whilst with 515 Squadron, with effect from 26th July 1944. No next of kin details - are you able to assist?
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3” Collection, also to Gerrie Zwananberg MBE and his research, Publication 'Eyes of the night' authors Joe Bamford and Ron Collier ISBN-13 : 978-1844152964, AWMM, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: