Plea to give Blackpool Second World War veteran a proper farewell

Former service men and women are being urged to bid a final farewell to a man who served in the Navy during the war before re-enlisting in the RAF to fly jets in the 40s and 50s.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 1:13 pm

Sydney Ronald Jones, known as Ron, was described as “an absolute gentleman” and a “proud and independent and pleasant man”.

He died at Acorn Nursing Home in Newton Drive, Blackpool, at the age of 94 after suffering a chest infection.

His funeral will be at Carlton Crematorium, on Monday, December 16 at 2pm.

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Sydney Ronald Jones, pilot in the RAF and sailor in the Navy.
Sydney Ronald Jones, pilot in the RAF and sailor in the Navy.

His only living blood relative, grandson Connor Jones, has asked that because there are no family members, former service veterans go along to the service to honour his passing.

Ron joined the Navy aged 16 during the Second World War and was trained at HMS Royal Arthur and also at HMS Gosling where the Fleet Air Arm pilots were trained.

After the war he applied to join the RAF and was accepted but had to have an operation on his nose.

Connor, 20, said: “My grandad had to have an operation on his nose which had to be broken and ground down, whilst he was awake, to join the RAF.

Sydney and Joan Jones

“The RAF had strict regulations and he was determined to join. He became a pilot officer.

“He was a hard working man who worked well into his late 70s.

“He was an incredible man all round and definitely anyone associated with him could feel proud to have known him and a personal hero of mine in particular.

“He was in a very devoted marriage to my late Nana, Joan Jones who died in 2014.”

Connor said they had one son, Andrew, but he died some years ago from heart complications. He said: “ Grandad was an absolute gentleman and would suffer no bad language in front of the ladies.

“After the war he served in Germany, France and elsewhere in Europe. At one time he told us that he had to eject from his aircraft in Holland and ended up in a tree.

“He learned to fly in Harvard Trainers and flew the Meteor and Vampire jet aircraft. He was a good pilot and at one time was in an aerobatics team flying Vampires. He served in the RAF until 1954.

“He once told us he flew under the Forth Bridge but got into trouble for it.”

The Gloucester Meteor was the first jet fighter in RAF service, seeing action in late the Second World War.

The De Havilland Vampire was the second serving as a front line fighter until 1953.

Connor said Ron was proud of his service in the Royal Navy and RAF and said he hoped that as many former servicemen and women would be able to come along to swell the ranks at the funeral.

He said: “We just want some of the veterans to come along and give him the best send off possible.

“We will be having refreshments there for them at the cafe afterwards.”

Ron was a he was a long time member of the Stanley Park golf club in Blackpool and worked after leaving the RAF as a machinery salesman. Then he and Joan took a guest house in

Blackpool which they ran for many years.

Liz Clayton from the standard bearers group on the Fylde coast said they would be at the service to honour Ron with six bearers including an RAF standard.

She said: “It’s an honour and a great privilege for us to be able to be there and say our thanks too.

“There are not too many veterans around who served during the war so this is very special.”