Tributes paid to ex-RAF pilot

Ronald Jones, left, Eastbourne Lancaster pilot.
Ronald Jones, left, Eastbourne Lancaster pilot.

A PILOT who flew Lancaster bombers during the war has died just two weeks shy of his 90th birthday.

Ronald Jones, who was known as Ted by his aviation friends and colleagues, passed away peacefully in the DGH on April 18 and was buried on Friday after a service at St Simon and St Jude in East Dean.

Born in Eastbourne, Mr Jones lived locally in East Dean for much of his married life and remained there until his recent death.

His long career in aviation began back in 1942 as a Lancaster pilot with 550 Squadron and 300 Polish Squadron.

During his spell in the forces, Mr Jones completed 32 operations over Germany and occupied France and then played a significant part in the Berlin Airlift, working for Bond Air Services in 1948/1949.

He continued as a commercial pilot working for Qantas, Skyways, and Transglobe Airways retiring as chief pilot with Tradewinds Airways in 1981.

Despite being a talented amateur artist and musician his greatest passion was always flying – something he did up until the age of 80 years as a hobby, taking craft up to the skies from nearby Shoreham Airport.

A loving husband to his late wife Betty and a valued friend in later years to Pam Holt, Mr Jones was very much a family man.

In fact, life was fun and exciting in the Jones household and Sue and Sarah his daughters can remember being woken up at 5am to be taken very unexpectedly to Venice for the day while all the family enjoyed exciting trips taking racing cars to the grand prix in Long Beach, California and down the route to Cairo and Khartoum.

Paying tribute to her father, Susan Carter told the Herald, “He was a loving father to both us daughters and our brother David, who sadly died some years ago.

“He was a wonderful grandfather and step grandfather and he will be greatly missed by all his family and many friends.”