Bryan Jones

Navigator Bryan Jones tribute site

Hi and welcome to this site;

During July 2013 I had the privilege to meet and video interview Bryan Jones at his home in Johannesburg. Thanks to Dean Wingram and Carol van Rensburg (SAAFA) who provided me with the contact details. 



Bryan Desmond Jones joined the South African Air Force in 1943. He was selected for pilot training but after commencement of this course he was convinced to change over to do the Observer course (Navigator/Bomb Aimer) 

In 1944 he obtained his qualification wings and was sent to the Middle East where he joined the newly formed 31 heavy bomber squadron. Bryan participated with the very first  SAAF heavy bomber raid on a mission to the German occupied Crete. 

The squadron moved to Celone in Italy and from there Bryan participated in strategic operational missions to several targets including mine laying in the Danube and bombing of Ploesti oil fields.

On the 13th of August 1944 Bryan's Liberator aircraft was shot down over Warsaw but the aircraft made a safe crash landing and Bryan and his crew  became POW's until the end of the War.

After the war Bryan was employed for some time in a large company but moved over to full time ministry where he retired in 1993 at the age of 70. Bryan became a pastor to fullfill a promise to God when his aircraft was shot down in Poland.

Today Bryan and his wife Olive still live in Johannesburg and they have been married for over 60 years.

Thanks to Bryan and Olive for their kindness during my visit and thanks for the video interview with Bryan. Thanks to Darryl Jones for all the help with the liaison with Bryan as well as scans of documentation.

This is a living web site. Any input and/or participation will be much appreciated regarding additional information, correctness, information from relatives of members who served with Bryan in his squadron, photographs, stories etc. Please e-mail me. Most welcome will be any photographs of No. 31 squadron while Bryan was with them.

If you perhaps have a family member who served as a SAAF fighter pilot during ww2 and you would want to find out more about his war service please contact me, hopefully I can be of some help.

Tinus le Roux

August 2013


Bryan and Olive 



Part 1: Training, Danube and Ploesti missions 

 Part 2: Shot down over Warsaw



Part 3: POW in Germany 

 Military Career

01/02/1942    Joined the SAAF, 66 Air School, Lyttleton, ground training

??/??/1942    Pupil pilot, Air School East London

20/06/1942    Observer course, Youngsfield, Cape Town

??/??/1943    Qualify as Observer, get wings

??/??/1943    Promoted to 2nd Lieutenant

21/09/1943    SAAF base camp, Cairo

15/12/1943    24 Squadron, El Adem

20/02/1944    31 Squadron, Lydda

05/03/1944    Participated in the first ops of 31 sqdn, leaflet drop to Crete

15/05/1944    31 Squadron move to Kilo 40

18/06/1944    31 Squadron move to Celone, Italy

09/08/1944    Raid on Ploesti oil refinery, Hungry

10/08/1944    Mine laying in the Danube river

13/08/1944    Supply drop to Warsaw, aircraft was shot down, captured

15/09/1944    Moved to Luft Stalag III after days of transit and interrogation.

15/03/1944    Prison camp was liberated by the Soviet Red Army

10/09/1944    Demobilised




 In the book "Airlift to Warsaw" by N D Orpen, it is wrongly stated that Bryan's Liberator EW105, piloted by Bob Klette, made a planned forced landing on a piece of flat ground on the night of 13 August 1944. The book further states that the aircraft made the forced landing before the load was dropped, this also is not true.

Bryan states that the perfect crash landing was not planned but just happened as they were unaware that their aircraft was losing altitude when they started their flight back from Warsaw. It is seen as a miracle.

This is confirmed in a piece written by the pilot Bob Klette and also published. 




Crash site in Warsaw. 


In August 2014 a set of 3 photographs were discovered on the internet originating as an E-bay item. With the help of Dominik Kościelny the photographs were confirmed  (99.9% !)  to be that of Bryan's Liberator  that crashed on the night of 13/8/1944. It thus confirms the fact that the aircraft indeed crash-landed right on the airfield of Okecie (today Chopin airport). There were some reports that the aircraft crashed at- or near a horse race track and now confirmed to be not true.

Note the flak damage to the fuselage and port fin. The photograph location was positively confirmed from the buildings and chimneys on the skyline.

Bryan's navigator station is severely damaged and one can clearly understand why he was knocked unconscious on impact. It is also clear why Bryan had soil over his face when he woke up as the damaged front section would have scooped soil through the gaping opening at the front bottom perspex window area. 

The Starboard outer engine appears to have no propeller damage indicating no power rotation during crash landing and meant the engine was not working.

The front turret has no guns, typical of all SAAF 31 squadron bombers.

Again the flak damage is visible on the port fin. The roundal and fin flashes positionscorrespond 100% with the photograph of EW105 shown below. The letter G is obscured by the tail fin.

Scaled graphics showing the estimated position of the crashed aircraft on the Okecie airfield of 1944.  Our friend  Dominik Kościelny did the projection. See below an aerial photograph of the particular part of Okecie taken by Americans on their Warsaw supply drop mission in September 1944.



Here the 1944 photograph superimposed on a 2014 Google Earth image showing Chopin airport.


Special thanks to Hubert Kuberski who took these photographs.



The yellow marker shows the  memorial plaque as it is displayed today. Bryan describes the unexpected crash landing of his Liberator as a miracle as it is on a piece of flat land at the airport grounds and  the aircraft was in a straight and level orientation  when it happened.



Crew of  SAAF B-24 Liberator  EW105:

Seated L to R: Lt. Alf Faul, second pilot.; Lt. Bob Klette, first pilot and skipper; Lt. Bryan Jones, navigator /bomb aimer.

Standing L. to R: AOII Herbert Brown (died of wounds 14/08/1944), mid upper gunner; AOII Eric Winchester, beam gunner/radio operator; AOII Henry Upton, tail gunner.

Bryan's Liberator serial number EW105, 31 squadron coded "G".  EW105 was shot down over Warsaw on the night of 13/14  August 1944.

Bryan in the Middle East, January 1944


On top of a pyramid, Egypt 1944.
 LtR: Jack Tromp, John Colman, Piet Brink, Bryan Jones.
John Coleman was Bryan's long time friend and assisted Bryan in the infamous POW marches of 1945 when Bryan was very ill.


Graves of SAAF airmen who were killed in the Warsaw air lift 1944, Krakow, Poland. 

Bryan receiving the highest Polish award  for non-citizens from the president of Poland in 2006.

Bryan's medals and awards including 4 Polish medals.


Bryan making a speech at the Warsaw Flights commemoration at the Johannesburg Katyn memorial Sept. 2013.










Lt. Impey's grave in Poland


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