Saturday, April 26, 2008

Flt Lt Richard L Jones AE 1918-2012

Flt Lt Richard L Jones AE was a Battle of Britain Spitfire pilots, in 1940 Richard was a newly trained pilot officer posted to No 64 Squadron, commanded by the Laird of Glengarry, at Kenley in Surrey. The Kenley Sector Station was a vital part of the hard pressed 11 Group, and was very heavily bombed by the Germans. Kenley's fighter squadrons were in constant action throughout the Battle of Britain, but when 64 Squadron was withdrawn from the line, Pilot Officer Jones did not rest, instead he continued to fly Spitfires in action, this time with No 19 Squadron at Fowlmere, in the Duxford Sector of 12 Group. 19 Squadron was a part of the controversial 'Big Wing' led by the legendary legless fighter ace Douglas Bader, the tactics of which were contrary to the requirements of Fighter Command's Commander-in-Chief and, indeed, as operated by 11 Group (which attacked the enemy with 'penny packet' formations rather than en masse). Pilot Officer Jones, therefore, experienced combat in both 11 and 12 Groups during the Battle of Britain, giving him a unique perspective of the controversial tactics concerned.

Towards the end of the Battle of Britain, Pilot Officer Jones was shot down during a dogfight over Kent with Me 109s. He crash landed his Spitfire in a field, colliding with a flock of sheep; of the resulting chaos he wrote in his log book 'Crashed into a load of sheep. What a bloody mess!"

After the Battle of Britain, Richard Jones became a test pilot for De Havilland at Witney in Oxfordshire, and test flew thousands of Hawker Hurricanes and other types,including civil types. After the war Richard Jones joined the RAFVR and started a long career in the motor industry, becoming sales manager for Rover.