15/16.07.1944 207 Squadron Lancaster I ME807 EM:S Flt Lt. Jones
Date: 15th/16th July 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: 207 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Spilsby, Lincolnshire.
Location: Marnay near Lignieres-de-Touraine, Indre et Loire, France.
Pilot: Flt Lt. George Leeson Jones, 127237 RAFVR Age 30. Killed
2nd Pilot: Fg Off. Edward Dalgleish, 177620 RAFVR Age 25. Killed
Flt Eng: Plt Off. Barrington St. John Woollard, 179243 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Nav: Fg Off. Frank Reginald Tickle, 409772 RAAF Age 34. Killed
Bomb Aimer: P/O Frederick George Graham, R152727 RCAF Age 21. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Joseph Harold Fellows, 1581317 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Sgt. Richard Arthur Gaut, 2220609 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Air Gnr (Rear): Flt Sgt. Michael James Wallace Cantwell, R201588 RCAF Age 18. Killed
L to R: Fg Off. Edward Dalgleish, Sgt. Joseph Fellows, Sgt. Richard Gault
Photos of Dalgleish and Gault courtesy of Alison Dalgleish and Pierre Vandervelden
Above; Plt Off. Graham and Plt Off. Cantwell from their service files
REASON FOR LOSS
Bomber Commands operational plan called for simultaneous raids on railway marshalling yards in France. The raiding force, which was comprised of 222 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitoes, would split once over the French coast, one half headed for Nevers 130 miles to the south of Paris and the other to Châlons sur Marne 90 miles to the east.
Flt Lt. Jones and crew took off from their base at Spilsby at 22:14 hours. Five minutes later, Flt Lt. William Murphy piloting Lancaster ME851 of RAAF 467 Sqn, took off from RAF Waddington - both destined for Nevers.
The Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) notes:
‘Fine: 13 aircraft detailed for operations later reduced to 6 and one reserve, 6 took off to attack Nevers, one (Flt Lt. Jones with Plt Off. Dalglish) failed to return. Other crews report seeing what appeared to be a collision over the target, aircraft seen to disintegrate.’ Later reports confirmed that Jones’ aircraft had collided with a 467 Sqn Lancaster at 03:00 hrs over the target area. Both aircraft disintegrated and all crew members were killed. The aircraft crashed and exploded in flames at Marnay in the Commune of Lignieres.
Carolyn Walker, a niece of Fg Off. Edward Dalgliesh and Margaret Moore has sent us a translation of a letter from the priest of Ligniers saying what had happened 2 years after the event:
Usual bombing and they thought nothing of it until there was an explosion at 1am. The priest heard about it next day and rushed to the scene. The Germans had already taken some of the ID tags and they sealed the area but he was allowed to say prayers for the men under the sheets the Germans said they were to be buried as unknown. He thought it was the explosion of the bombs that killed the men as they were badly injured and others had found remains over a 1km area. The next day they found 2 more men, the priest was able to bless them, one of them was called Tickle.
Only one of the men had been able to try and use his parachute but he was unsuccessful. The crews had to be buried in the cemetery in a mass grave because they wanted them to be at rest before the Germans came back. He said they would look after the men and treat them with respect and that every occasion they paid respect to graves as well. One of the men had a small cross in his pocket and another had (something else). He said he was able to answer questions if needed.
The crew members of ME807 and ME851 are buried side by side at Lignieres de Touraine. (Photo courtesy Pierre Vandervelden, IN MEMORY)
Flt Lt. George Leeson Jones, Lignieres de Touraine Communal Cemetery, Row B Grave 1. Born on 24th August 1913, the Son of William James Jones and Mildred Elizabeth Ann Jones, of Swansea, Wales.
Memorial at the Chichester Police Station remembering Police Constables from the West Sussex Constabulary, five of whom were killed in action servicing with the Royal Air Force in Bomber Command. (Courtesy Jonathan Ford from the Sussex Constabulary). Of the eight remembered on the right hand panel are Fg.Off. Lewis Walter Castle Austin, Plt Off. Frank William Cosens DFC, Flt Lt. George Leeson Jones, Sgt. Richard Edwards and Plt.Off. William Charles Sutton.
George Leeson Jones joined the West Sussex Constabulary on the 25th March1939 where he served in Shoreham. PC Jones then joined the RAF. He became a Lancaster Pilot flying at least 21 operational sorties
Fg Off. Edward Dalgleish, Lignieres de Touraine Communal Cemetery, Row B Grave 5. Son of Edward and Catherine Agnes Webster (nee Hanley) Dalgleish, husband of Margaret Emily Maude (née Moore) Dalgleish of Leith, Midlothian, Scotland.
Plt Off. Barrington St.John Woollard, Lignieres de Touraine Communal Cemetery, Row B Joint Grave 2. Son of William Robert and Editha Agnes Woollard of Norbury, London, England.
Fg Off. Frank Reginald Tickle, Lignieres de Touraine Communal Cemetery, Row A Grave 6. Born on the 19th September 1909 in Woodchurch, England. Son of Ephraim John Gerrard Tickle and Esther Tickle; husband of Phyllis Margaret Tickle of South Yarra, Victoria, Australia.
Plt Off. Frederick George Graham, Lignieres de Touraine Communal Cemetery, Row A Grave 5. Born on the 23rd February 1923 in Brandon, Manitoba. Son of Joseph Frederick and Amy (née Thorley) Graham of Oak Lake, Manitoba, Canada.
Born and educated in Oak Lake, Plt.Off Graham enlisted in the RCAF on January 15, 1942. After graduating from Central Navigation School, Rivers, Manitoba on April 13 1943, he was posted overseas completing 20 operations over enemy territory.
WO2 Graham was commissioned and promoted to Plt Off. (J88399) with effect 14th July 1944.
Graham Lake east of Nejanilini Lake, Manitoba is named after Plt Off Graham.
Sgt. Joseph Harold Fellows, Lignieres de Touraine Communal Cemetery Row B Joint Grave 2. Son of Joseph and Ethel May (nee Croome) Fellows of Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, England.
Sgt. Richard Arthur Gaut, Lignieres de Touraine Communal Cemetery Row A Grave 2. Son of Abraham and Emily Gaut of Donnington, Shropshire, England.
Plt Off. Michael James Wallace Cantwell, Lignieres de Touraine Communal Cemetery, Row A Grave 8. Born on the 7th December 1924 in Campbellton, New Brunswick. Son of James W. Cantwell and Mary Ellen (née Shannon) Cantwell of Campbelltown, New Brunswick, Canada.
Flt Sgt. Cantwell was commissioned and promoted to Plt Off (J90372) with effect 14th July 1944.
Researched and written for Aircrew Remembered by Colin Bamford and dedicated to Alison Dalgleish, niece of Fg Off. Dalgleish and her daughter Corinne and all the families of the crew of Lancaster ME807. Thanks to Jonathan Ford from the Sussex Constabulary for the images of the memorial. Thanks to Carolyn Walker for the letter translation (Nov 2021). Reviewed and other updates by Aircrew Remembered (Nov 2021).