Skip to main content

Sergeant Ronald Stone Bomber Command- What really happened on that day November 1942?

I have always been fascinated by our ancestry. What secrets are there hidden in the pages of the past? A fascinating look at our ancestors.

Sergeant Ronald Stone  Copyright Nell Rose

Sergeant Ronald Stone Copyright Nell Rose

Bomber Pilot Shock!

Findmypast is an online Genealogy site that helps you connect with your past. Or should I say your ancestors and their fascinating past. I have been meaning to do it for a while, and found the Ancestry Genealogy site a bit daunting. So after finding the Find My Past site I logged in, paid my dues and off I went.

Sort of. The trouble with me is that I tend to be impatient. So, after making a mess of it for about two hours I started from the beginning, and began putting together my family tree.

So far so good. But then something rather strange happened.

I say Find my past found an anomaly. That isn't altogether true.Well it is in a way. I noticed something odd when adding my own info.

I was searching through my own records, photos birth and death certificates etc when I suddenly thought of Ron.

Ron is our hero. He was my uncle on my mother's side. In 1941 he was training to be in Bomber Command, and after a few months overseas, Miami and Vancouver, he came back to join the War. Soon he was a Sergeant in the RAF.

On the 16th November 1942 he was flying with his flight crew over Scotland where they had just come back from a bombing raid over Germany. His plane had been badly damaged, and they crashed in a river and all on board were killed.

Or so we thought.

A sad day...

My family were told the next day, and as you can imagine they were totally heartbroken. Evidently my gran had lost her husband six months before, so she was crushed.

The fact that after the plane crashed into the river, my uncle got out, but dived back in to help his colleague and friend, was made worse by the fact that they then both drowned.

For over 70 years we were made to believe that Ron was coming back from a night time raid and the plane was badly damaged. He was a navigator in a Lancaster Bomber.

After starting my online search I suddenly discovered something new. A couple of years ago I found a site called Remembering Today.

I wrote about my uncle on there and left it to see if anyone would add anything.

Then I totally forgot about it. Until yesterday.

And what I found shocked me!

Whitley V bomber

Whitley V bomber

What on earth....?

The is some of the script from that site. Thanks to a man called Peter Clare who had done the research for me.

16 November 1942

19 O.T.U.
Whitley V P5105
Operation Training.

They took off from Kinloss, for a night cross-country. Both engines failed ...!!! and while attempting to alight in the River Dee, 2 miles west of the Aberdeenshire town of Ballater the plane smashed into a suspension bridge (Polhollick bridge) and crashed at 2225 hrs.


P/O. D L C. Thomas. Injured
Sgt. R. Stone +
Sgt. R L. Pett +
Sgt. H S. Fraser RCAF. Injured
Sgt. Williams.


So three of the crew survived? And what the heck was a 'Whitley V P5105'?

I had never heard of this type of war plane before! What happened to the Lancaster Bomber? And more importantly, how come it says 'Training' and what does it mean by two engines failing?

I then noticed the words 19 OTU op. Training, and put those in the search engine.

And boy was I surprised!

RAF Air Force Kinloss Scotland

RAF Air Force Kinloss Scotland

Polhollick bridge near Aberdeen Scotland on the river Dee where my uncle Ron crashed in the whitley.

Polhollick bridge near Aberdeen Scotland on the river Dee where my uncle Ron crashed in the whitley.

Is there something wrong with the Planes....?

First of all I found my uncle's name in the Roll of Honour. Then looked to see if I could find out more about the Whitley plane and how many accidents and losses it had. And I was stunned to see at least 200 planes had crashed or been shot down.

Now don't get me wrong. I would imagine that all of the planes in the war, whatever make, probably suffered hundreds of losses.

But something was niggling me. So I looked further.

And found this:

There are many aircraft accidents in the O.R.Bs.

Any twin engine aircraft suffering an engine fire or loss at heavy weights was a major problem, and in the hands of a solo less-experienced pilot possibly a tragedy waiting to happen.

Not all the accidents were in the air or pilot error. There are one or two ground incidents listed, in particular, where an engine fitter has just cleaned down an oil covered engine, when unknown to him, an electrician comes along to clear the 700 of a problem. The record does not show the fate as result of the consequent engine fire!


No 19 O.T.U continued to fly the Whitley long after the type was removed from front line operations!! Wow!

Sergeant Ronald Stone.

Sergeant Ronald Stone.

Time will tell.....

So, as you can see I have a bit of searching to do. If it does turn out to be an accident or fault of the plane it will be a shock.

But that will never stop our feeling so proud of him, especially going back in the water to save his friend.

I believe that the Ministry of Defence, if proven that it was an accidental engine failure compared to being shot down, as we believed, probably said it to save my gran's feelings which I totally understand.

To be told he was a hero is all that matters as he was so brave. But the truth should have been told after the war.

I will still carry on looking for more evidence. Till then I am concentrating on all my dads ancestors, and boy there are a lot of them!

Did you know.....? No, that will wait till next time!

Till then, here's another hero in my family....My mum! Sergeant Georgina Stone.

  • Sergeant Georgina Stone - Funny Tales From Her Time ...
    Sergeant Georgina Stone joined the Airforce in World War 2. But that didn't stop her getting caught up in hilarious pranks! Includes being chased by a Spitfire, losing her dignity and her skirt while putting on a parachute, knocking out a ghost and l

© 2015 Nell Rose

Related Articles