Our Local Heroes – Gone but not forgotten
Paul J. Fleury Colonel (Retired)
J/85045 Pilot Officer Norval H. Jones
Norval Hodges Jones was born in 1916, the son of Edgar and Elizabeth Jones. He had an older brother, Lionel and a younger brother, Earle (Curly). The family lived at 31 Main Street, Deschenes, Quebec. Before the outbreak of the Second World War, Norval was employed as a miner at the Jason Gold Mines, Larder Lake, Ontario. His father later recalled that he was fond of the outdoors and keen on hunting.
Norval joined the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) at #12 Recruiting Centre in Ottawa, Ontario on November 10th 1941. He was 25 years old, 5’7” tall and weighed 139lbs. Following bomber pilot training, Norval (Pilot Officer) along with his brother Earle (Leading Aircraftman) were both assigned to 425 (Alouette) Squadron flying Wellington Bombers in the United Kingdom in 1942; and from North Africa in support of the invasions of Sicily and Italy during 1943. The Squadron flew Halifax Bombers when it returned to the United Kingdom in December 1943. Each time Norval returned from a mission, Earle was the first to greet him, as he was part of the team that serviced Norval’s aircraft. Meanwhile, Lionel (Aircraftman 2) served on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
On the night of 24 March 1944, Pilot Officer Norval H. Jones departed his base at Tholthopre in England, flying in a Halifax III Bomber named “C-Charlie”. This was his 24th operational sortie and his mission was to bomb the German city of Berlin. His aircraft was believed to have crashed somewhere near the mouth of the Elbe River and none of the seven man crew were ever heard of again. Reported as “missing without trace”, his loss was but one of the more than 17,000 Canadian RCAF/RAF flyers who gave their lives in service to Canada during the Second World War, of which more than 4,000 have no known grave.
Pilot Officer Norval H. Jones’ name is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, located road west of London, England and the Bomber Command Memorial Wall in Nanton, Alberta. A wartime photograph of Norval, along with copies of his service medals are on display at Aylmer Legion 33. In addition, the city of Gatineau recognized his sacrifice with the naming of Rue Norval-Jones (Sector Aylmer) on March 23rd 1996.
Lionel and Earle Jones both survived the War and went on to live their lives in the Aylmer/Ottawa area. Lionel was buried in Bellevue Cemetery in Aylmer following his death on October 4th 1997. His name can be found on a tombstone shared with his parents, just above Norval’s name. Earle passed away peacefully on December 2nd 2015 at the age of 92, in Ottawa Ontario. He is also interned at Bellevue Cemetery along with his wife Patricia. Earle’s descendants reside in the Ottawa Valley region to this day.
Lest we forget