Belgian Group Searches For The Family Of A WWII Gunner

Avro Lancaster B I PA474 in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. <a href=>Photo Credit</a>
Avro Lancaster B I PA474 in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Photo Credit

A Belgian citizen is asking for assistance to locate the relatives of a Carmarthen man killed at Mol, Belgium. He died when the Lancaster in which he was the tail gunner crashed after a bombing raid in Duisburg, Germany, in the spring of 1943.

Sergeant Benjamin Bryn Jones, 22, was a crew member of RAF 207 Squadron I-W4171.

Wim Govers is attempting to locate the families of the crew as a portion of a project to remember the dead in Belgium. All he knows is that Jones – whose RAF serial number was 1183725 – was born in Carmarthen, Wales, the son of Henry and Margaret Jones.

Govers is a member of the VVG – Verbroedering Vaderlandslievende Groeperingen – which tries to keep maintain the commemoration of World War II history in their area.

They organize the annual memorial celebrating Belgium’s 1944 liberation on September 13th, as well as events on July 21st (state holiday) and the ‘ceasefire’ on November 11th. They still have two Second World War veterans in their society and wish to show their appreciation, South Wales Evening Post reported.

Annually, the VVG publishes a small book listing specific World War II facts in the municipality with stories based on eye-witness accounts and results from their research. The theme for 2017 is Aircraft Crashes in Mol.

Govers wants to contact family members so he can relate the last moments of their relatives’ lives. In fact, Govers said his association is aware of at least seven planes that crashed in the Mol area.

Also aboard Lancaster I-W4171 were sergeants Geoffrey John Glare, John Gillespie, Frank Wells Davies, William Alfred Hollet, Iorwerth Beynon Jones, and Flying Officer Paul Malcolm Hyland. The entire crew was killed in the crash, after the plane was attacked by an ME 110 night fighter. The crew is interred in Antwerp’s Schoonselhof Cemetery.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE