Stan Jones (1925-2004)

Interviewed on Aug. 2004, Stanley Jones is an ex-wireless operator who was with the No. 1 squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF), which primarily consists of Commonwealth Air Force Members - Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, and South Africans. 

 

At the time of enlistment, he was called up to the Air Force in London, England, where he lived at the time. As he attended radio school, he learned to transmit morose code at 18 words per minute. The focus of radio school was not only centered on transmitters and receivers, but also it included flight training. After his training, he first flew two-seaters and encountered ex-pilots who had fought during the Battle of Britain.

He not only graduated as a sergeant, but he also attended the Advanced Flying Unit (AFU) in Northern Ireland to receive further flight training. After his completion with the AFU, he was sent marching towards one of the big hangars and was recruited to join the rest of the Canadian crew while he was in the Air Force.

The Life and Legacy of World War II Hero Stan Jones

by Shannon Zarka

A commitment to honour, bravery and relentless dedication to serving for the greater good of his country not only describe Stan Jones, but are testaments he lived by which shone throughout his entire life and everyday actions. Born an Englishman, Stan Jones was a proud veteran of the Second World War, operating as an audacious airman that transported emergency supplies and food to starving Dutch citizens. Alongside his heroism, Jones was also prominently known for serving as a member of Squadron 101, Lieutenant Governor and President of Roseland Golden Kiwanis to add to his very noble titles.

             Stan Jones was notably known for his bravery and service during the war but his commemorative work extended far beyond his war service. The war veteran and proud family man was well-known for being an active member of the community, frequently engaging in client carpentry work on the side for families with disabilities, and often visiting elementary schools to teach children CPR and the importance of lifesaving first aid techniques.

             Dodging bullets and seeking refuge in air raid shelters from German bombers was a part of everyday routine for then teenager Stan Jones and his family, living in London. Jones’ first memories of the war began in 1939 - recollections that would forever be ingrained in Jones’ mind. The clamor of bombs and bloodshed fighting of the Battle of Britain ceased for a short period of time, and the English citizens were relieved, but the brief atmosphere of calm wouldn’t last long, and the battle swiftly adjourned.

             One of Jones’s most vivid memories during that time frame was on September 7th, 1940, when the air raid sirens resonated all across England. Unexpectant and surprised, Jones who was out shopping when the sirens erupted, sought shelter in a walk-in freezer until the bombing and the horns halted. During Jones’ departure on his way home later that evening, he was caught in the crossfires of a bomb that was dropped by a plane in the middle of the road at a nearby military base. The explosion was so powerful that Jones was catapulted backward and a portion of the road was destroyed. Jones continued his way home where his family spent the night in an air raid shelter, just like they had retreated not too long before.

             Shortly after, when Jones was 15, he received his first job as a fire watch team member. The duties were relatively simple: keep any fires that occurred under control until firefighters arrived. Three years later in May of 1943, Jones received notice to serve Britain. Due to his high IQ and meeting all medical requirements, he was assigned the position of Wireless Communications Operator, on the Bad Penny – an RAF Lancaster, by the United Kingdom Royal Air Force. It was Jones’ firm belief that by the time his training had been completed the war would be over, and that belief served to be true: Jones officially completed his training and was given his first duties on March 2nd, 1945. Jones was the only Englishman among a seven-man crew with five Canadians. 

The next major mission Jones departed on would turn out to be the pinnacle of his military career: Operation Manna. This major expedition involved delivering critical emergency supplies and food that was desperately needed to the citizens of war torn countries. Jones played a crucial role in ensuring all items would successfully and safely be delivered. The importance of this operation was to assess if the Germans would retaliate against the humanitarian mission. Stan’s aircraft was the scouting flight to determine if it was safe for the rest of the aviation to enter the occupied territory.

The Germans were ordered not to fire at any aircraft delivering emergency supplies, but did not sign an official agreement approving Operation Manna before the commission. Jones’ played a pivotal role of using his aircraft to scout potential hazards or Germans that could jeopardize and impede the deliveries and the two hundred and fifty planes that were delivering life-saving necessities.

             The war officially ended on May 8th, 1945, and Jones recalled a celebratory European football game in which England lost. When asked in an interview, Jones confided that he was never more frightened than during his teenage years seeking refuge from the Blitz. Jones revealed that throughout his duties, his enlistment in the war was not nearly as terrifying as the uncertainty of the sounds of the bombs approaching closer and closer with each detonation.

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