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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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23 crest
24th July 1944 23 Squadron Mosquito FB.VI HR236 Sq/Ldr. Rabone DFC

Operation: Ranger

Date: 24th July 1944 (Monday)

Unit: No. 23 Squadron (motto: Semper Aggressus - 'Always on the attack'). 100 (BS) Group

Type: Mosquito FB.VI

Serial: HR236

Code: YP-?

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:

KTY 19-03-2021

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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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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