Staff Sergeant Ernest E. Jones, Service Number 13062713
Ernest was born in Erwin, Unicoi County, Tennessee on 12 January 1917. He moved with his family to Embreeville and then to Jonesborough, Washington County, Tennessee and called that home when he enlisted in the United States Army on 4 April 1942 in Richmond, Virginia. He worked in Jonesborough as a bookkeeper and cashier. During this time his two younger brothers, Claude and David, both in the United States Navy were fighting for their lives on Corregidor, a small island that’s at the entrance to Manila Bay, Luzon Island, Philippines.
While in basic training Ernest learned the plight of Corregidor and its fall to the Japanese, but he didn’t know about the status of his brothers. He then volunteered for the Army Air Forces and since he was a high school graduate and did very well on his aptitude tests, he was accepted. Ernest was assigned to the 714th Bomb Squadron, 448th Bomb Group (Heavy), 20th Bomb Wing, 8th Air Force, United States Army Air Forces. He trained as a gunner and flight engineer on B-24 Liberator bombers at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho, Wendover Field, Wendover, Utah and Sioux City Army Air Base, Sioux City, Iowa.
On 3 November 1943, his bomb group left Sioux City with their bombers enroute to Herington Field, Herington, Kansas. This was the start of their ferry run on the southern ferry route via Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Belem, Dakar and Marrakech that would end in St. Mawgan, England. Ernest departed Marrakech Air Base, Marrakech, French Morroco, North Africa for their flight on 22 November 1943 on B-24H #42-52108 at 2355 hours (11:55pm) for the final leg to England, there was a total of 14 men aboard.
She was the 14th bomber to leave the ground of 26 that night and the pilot was informed to circle the field once before taking up his course of 333 degrees at 9,000 feet. The cause of the crash still remains undetermined, but the accident committee surmised that for navigational purposes the pilot, while circling the field did not realize he was too far away from the field and in the proximity of high mountains. He flew the bomber straight into the Atlas Mountains, killing all 14 men.
Nine of the crew could not be identified and all 14 were interred in the Casablanca European Cemetery, Casablanca, French Morocco in Plot 24, Row 7, Graves 321 & 322 and Row 8, Graves 325, 326 & 327. After the war those nine were disinterred and reinterred at the Santa Fe National Cemetery, Santa Fe, New Mexico in Section N, Site 276 under one grave marker.
Ernest was 26 years old and the son of Anderson Hendrix Jones and Carrie Thompson. His older brother Hugh served in the Army and his two younger, Claude and David, in the Navy during World War II. All three brothers survived the war. They both came home, married and had families of their own.
-Submitted by Allen D. Jackson, USAF (Ret)
Pilot, 2nd Lt Joseph W. Shank Jr.
Co-Pilot, 1st Lt Edward J. Pearce
Navigator, 2nd Lt Clark S. Bender
Bombardier, 2nd Lt Turner A. Sowell Jr.
Engineer, S/Sgt Leonard G. LaJoie
Radio Operator, S/Sgt Eugene C. Weishaar
Engineer, Sgt Parke J. Blair
Radio Operator, Sgt Raymond L. Martin
Gunner, Sgt William D. Raber
Gunner, Cpl Calvin H. End