LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Arthur Edward JONES

Service No: 34647
Born: Naremburn NSW, 12 April 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 31 October 1940
Unit: No. 112 Air Sea Rescue Flight, Darwin NT
Died: Air Operations: (No. 112 Air-Sea Rescue Flight Catalina aircraft A24-54), 6 April 1945, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Henry Harold and Hellen Jones, of Naremburn, New South Wales
Roll of Honour: Chatswood NSW
Remembered: Panel 10, Northern Territory Memorial, Adelaide River NT
Remembered: Panel 111, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Catalina Base Memorial, Rathmines NSW
Remembered: Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW
Remembered: Railway Remembrance Wall, Central Station, Eveleigh Loco – Roll of Honour 1939 – 1945 Korea, Sydney NSW

Twenty minutes later a Catalina (of No. 112 Air-Sea Rescue Flight, captained by Flight Lieutenant Bulman (1)) arrived and taxied close enough to pick me up Sergeant Sayer (2) from Flight Lieutenant Ford’s crew was aboard, having been picked up earlier. I was exhausted and cold. I had swallowed a lot of salt water. We taxied around and picked up Warrant Officer Vickers, also from Flight Lieutenant Ford’s crew. The Catalina took off, landing again about thirty minutes later to pick up another survivor, whom I believe to be Flight Sergeant Faichnie (3). He was completely exhausted and was being pulled in over the gun blisters when the Catalina was attacked by a Zero from 12 o’clock. The Catalina caught fire immediately and sank three minutes later. I had undressed as ordered, and was going to bed in a bunk in the waist. I had been called forward for the landing and was in the navigator’s position when the attack was made. The order was given to bale out and I made my way aft. On the way a fuel line burst above me, pouring blazing fuel on to my back. This was extinguished by Sergeant Sayer who smothered the flames with a sleeping bag. I escaped out of the port blister, naked and with no Mae West. I do not remember much for a few minutes and when I regained my faculties I was being kept afloat by two members of the Catalina crew, Flight Lieutenant Bulman and Flight Sergeant Scholes (4). 9 These two men had to let me go after fifteen minutes owing to their Mae Wests coming undone. Flying Officer Becke (5) helped me for the next forty-five minutes. Through the fortitude of these men I was saved from drowning. A few minutes after the Catalina was hit, the air-sea rescue Liberator (Flight Lieutenant Byfield (6)) dropped two large dinghies and one supply canister. After an hour’s struggling we reached one of the dinghies. Another Catalina (Flight Lieutenant Corrie (7)) was directed to us by the Liberator. It landed after half an hour’s battle with heavy seas and wind. We were eventually picked up. One dinghy was cut in half by the port wing float. As the last survivor clambered aboard (nine men were rescued, six from Bulman’s Catalina and three from the Liberators) an Irving was sighted making for us. The enemy made his first attack as we were taking off and scored hits. Our return fire did no visible damage. A running fight ensued for about twenty minutes. The attacks ceased and we headed for Darwin, reaching there about 2230 hours . . . . (Report from Warrant Officer Keith Roy Shilling (406816), discharged from the RAAF: 8 February 1946)

(1) Flight Lieutenant Charles Ralph Bulman DFC (416145)
(2) Flight Sergeant Walter William Trevor Sayer (30337) Discharged from the RAAF: 9 November 1945
(3) Flight Sergeant Ian Faichnie (431408) Likely killed when A24-54 was attacked and sank
(4) Warrant Officer Arthur Joseph Scholes DFM (19191)
(5) Flight Lieutenant Raymond Ernest Becke (425585)
(6) Flight Lieutenant Noel Herbert Byfield (406173) Discharged from the RAAF: 6 March 1946
(7) Flight Lieutenant Robin Morton Corrie DFC (404170) Discharged from the RAAF: 22 October 1945

Extract from Odgers, G.J. (George James) (VX127783) Air War Against Japan 1943-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1957 – Pages 408-9

Sergeant Jones (Fitter IIA / Air Gunner), a member of the crew of Catalina A24-54, was lost when he drifted apart from the remainder of the crew after that aircraft was attacked and sunk, and all crew members had dived overboard. Flight Lieutenant Corrie’s rescue aircraft (Catalina A24-58) came under attack and he was unable to remain to search for Sergeant Jones.

The crew members of A24-54 were:

Pilot Officer Romuald Henry Baker (408550) (Wireless Air Gunner) Discharged from the RAAF: 4 March 1946
Flight Lieutenant Raymond Ernest Becke (425585) (Second Pilot) Discharged from the RAAF: 23 April 1947
Flight Lieutenant Charles Ralph Bulman DFC (416145) (Pilot) Discharged from the RAAF: 19 October 1945
Flight Lieutenant Anthony Gaunt Frow (421325) (Navigator) Discharged from the RAAF: 11 January 1946
Sergeant Arthur Edward Jones (34647) (Fitter II Airframe)
Warrant Officer Robert Patrick Quirk (409444) (Wireless Air Gunner) Discharged from the RAAF: 14 February 1946
Flight Sergeant Arthur Joseph Scholes DFM (19191) (Flight Engineer) Discharged from the RAAF: 1 March 1946

The rescue efforts resulted from the loss of No. 24 Squadron Liberator aircraft A72-77 (Flight Lieutenant Eric Valentine Ford (255138) (Pilot)) and A72-81 (Flight Lieutenant Sidney Leonard McDonald (411524) (Pilot)) on 6 April 1945.

Ten search sorties were made by Catalina, Liberator and Ventura aircraft over the following three days, but no trace of Sergeant Jones or other members missing from the two Liberators was found.

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9845, 147
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

Bibliography:

McFarlane, C.C. (Cyrus C.) Tojo’s Fate: Australia’s secret war, Sid Harta Publishers Glen Waverley VIC 3150, 2009
McMillan A. (Andrew) Catalina Dreaming: rescues exciting missions and other stories about the famous Australian flying boats of WWII, Duffy and Snellgrove Potts Point NSW, 2002
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Catalina, Neptune and Orion in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1991