Sgt John Stuart Jones (known as Stuart to his wife and Jonah to his friends in the Guinea Pig Club) was the son of M.O. and Nellie Jones and was from Colwyn Bay, North Wales and was born on 25th April 1914. He was the Navigator on the night of 30th April 1941.
Stuart was rescued from the burning plane by P.C. Bruce Westlake
PC Bruce Westlake and Sgt George Goodall (Home Guard). He suffered several broken bones and severe burns to his face, neck, scalp and hands. He was taken to a house on Effingham Road and it was apparently some time before he could be moved and taken to hospital. Stuart Jones' mother, Nellie Jones, later wrote to P.C. Bruce Westlake. Click here to see this letter and the ensuing correspondence.
In September 1943 he was admitted to the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead for the first time and was treated by Archibald McIndoe as part of the so called 'Guinea Pig Club*'. After the crash Stuart continued to fly and before the end of the war made various flights to France during it's liberation. He married Elsie Joan Cooper, whom he served with at Whitchurch, Shropshire, on the 17th August 1945 and they went on to have three children, John, Susan and Michael. Before the war Stuart had worked for the Midland bank and he returned to this after leaving the RAF. He enjoyed playing bowls, playing with his father in Colwyn Bay before and after the war. He also became interested in the Scout movement and was a Scout Master for the 10 years before his death on 27th February 1969.
Below are some photos of Stuart kindly provided by his widow Joan. The top right photo shows Stuart on guard duty in full kit. He was not allowed to move out of the square marked on the ground.
Stuart's obituary in the 1969 Summer edition of the Guinea Pig Magazine was written by Group Captain Tom P. Gleave C.B.E. and read:-
Jonah, the name by which we will always remember him, passed away in February, aged 56 years. He had not been in good health for some years, and more recently had become partially crippled. Nevertheless his loss came as a deep shock to us all.
During the war Jonah was badly burned while serving as an Observer in the Royal Air Force, and was brought to the Queen Victoria Hospital for treatment and so became a Guinea Pig. While there he displayed that courage and moral stature with which we came to associate him as a matter of course, but above all he proved himself an endearing character. Perhaps his most memorable trait was his remarkably keen sense of humour edged with an ever-ready but always kindly wit. He was a lover of sport, too, and while convalescing at Marchwood Park was chosen to be the 'opening bat' for the Guinea Pig team.
In the early post-war years Jonah was a regular attendee at the Guinea Pig reunions, and in true Guinea Pig style added his invaluable contribution to the gaiety on each occasion. More than likely among the memories of him most of us will cherish will be 'Jonah and his wig'. An all too simple basis one might think for fun, yet when treated with his humour and wit it 'rocked the aisles'.
When his profession took him away from East Grinstead we did not see much of him for quite a long time. A few years ago however he began to join us once more, and though he strove to be the Jonah of old it was clear that his illnesses had taken a heavy toll of his strength. It was good to see and to speak to him once more, and this was particularly so for those who were with him in the Queen Victoria Hospital during the war. Those opportunities now take on, in retrospect, a precious quality for we shall not see him again. Though he will be greatly missed, by the same token he will long be remembered among us.
To his widow Joan, whose hospitality is known to many Guinea Pig friends of Jonah, and to his children we offer our deepest sympathy in their sad loss."