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Vale Bob Jones

(Written by Felix Sainsbury, West Australian Branch of 3 SQN Assn.)

023099
MSUS, LIBYA.  1942-01-08.  FLYING OFFICER R. S. JONES OF NO. 3 SQUADRON, RAAF
IN THE COCKPIT OF HIS MACHINE ON HIS RETURN FROM AN OPERATIONAL FLIGHT. 
[AWM 023099]

Former Squadron Leader Robert S. “Bobby” Jones passed away quietly on Monday June 20th, 2011, at Gordon Lodge Air Force Estate, Bull Creek, aged 94 years.  

In one of the more dramatic incidents of 3SQN history, Bob was involved in a skirmish with Me109s on 11 January 1942 and was forced to crash-land on the beach near Tobruk.  Nicky Barr attempted to land his Tomahawk to pick Bob up, but Nicky too was attacked by two Me109s.  Nicky shot down one of the Germans but was then himself shot down by the German ace Otto Schulz. 

Bob was taken prisoner and finished up in a prisoner-of-war camp in Italy.  Nicky managed to make friends with local Sennusi nomads, and made it back to Allied lines after several days.

In September 1943, after the Italians changed sides and the Germans moved all the POWs out of Bob's prison camp, Bob escaped from a moving POW train, bound for Germany, with another 3 Squadron Pilot, Fred Eggleston.  Together they resolutely walked across several remote alpine passes into Switzerland as part of a group of six escapees, assisted my many extremely brave Italian civilians. 

After the American invasion of southern France in 1944, Bob and another 3 Squadron evader, Geoff Chinchen, set off on their own from Switzerland and with the help of the French Marquis they contacted the Americans and found their way back to the UK.  

Bob was one of our loyal regulars, and he will be sadly missed by us all.  R.I.P.

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