Airborne Engineers Association

Roll of Honour



Bob Jones 1922 - 2011

Bob passed away on the 24th October 2011


Bob's funeral took place at Yardley Cemetery, Birmingham on the 4th November with a very good attendance from members of the Birmingham branch, AEA and the PRA. Numerous standards were also displayed in his honour.

Bob Joined the Dorset Regiment as a boy soldier in 1940 aged 16. In 1942 he volunteered to become a glider pilot but failed the entrance exam. He was advised to "try the paras" but was sent first to train as a sapper in the Royal Engineers. In August 1943 he was posted to the 1st Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers and was posted to North Africa then Italy returning to the UK in December 1943 to Donington, Lincolnshire.

Bob then underwent training for the inevitable European invasion; many operations were planned and cancelled. September 17th 1944 Operation Market Garden was activated and Bob's unit found itself out gunned and surrounded at the Arnhem Bridge. As part of 1st Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers Bob found himself defending the schoolhouse close to the bridge until it was partially destroyed and then burnt out. Many of his colleagues were killed or wounded and while others managed to escape through a small window Bob was captured and taken prisoner of war. After months of deprivations the advancing Russian troops liberated Bob from the prisoner of war camp located near Dresden.

Despite many prompts to record his memories of the battle and subsequent internment, he flatly refused any gentle persuasion to provide our readers the dreadful sacrifice at Arnhem or of the period that he spent as a POW.

Bob returned home in August 1945. He later worked in the brewing and public house industry until settling in Birmingham.
Accompanied by his wife Vi, they attended every Arnhem Commemorative weekend held each September. They had over the years made life long friends with families in Arnhem and Oosterbeek and were accommodated with these friends on their visits.

Sadly at the loss of his wife several years ago, the spark seemed to fade from Bob. He still attended the annual reunions of the 1st Para Sqn RE held in Donington until failing health restricted his attendance.

His friends and colleagues will sadly miss him.



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