Cornelius Ryan WWII papers, box 017, folder 01: Raymond Eric Jones

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JONES, Raymond Eric

401st Bomb Sqdrn O La 1

Box 17, #1

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Lake Charles LL LA 1

For Cornelius Ryan Book about D-Day

THOUSANDS OF MEN, ON LAND AND SEA AND IN THE AIR, PARTICIPATED IN THE INVASION OF NORMANDY BETWEEN MIDNIGHT JUNE 5, 1944 AND MIDNIGHT JUNE 6, 1944. IF YOU WERE ONE OF THEM, PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS.

What is your full name ? Raymond Eric Jones What was your unit and division? 91st Bomb Group 401st Bomb Squadron 1st Air Division Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time ? 6 June 1944 at 7:15 we dropped our bombs on Omaha Beach gun installations and at 7:25 the troops hit the beach What was your rank on June 6, 1944? 1st Lieutenant What was your age on June 6, 1944? 21 yrs Were you married at that time? yes What is your wife's name? Lucille B. Jones Did you have any children at that time? No What do you do now? I am an operator in an Ethylene plant- Petroleum Chemicals Inc

When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? we knew for weeks something was up because our parade ground and every other place was stacked skyhigh with bombs and guide vancs for them. but on June 5, we were all rounded up at bout ten at night for a maximum effort and when we got to the base we were briefed on the plan for the 6th What was the trip like during the crossing of the Channel ? Do you remember, for example, any conversations you had or how you passed the time? no we were pretty high (altitude wise that is) but through breaks in the overcast we could see thousands of ship of all kinds and in the air thousands of aircraft. there were 11000 sorties flown that day , naturally we were pretty excited. bloody good show, what? What were the rumors on board the boat, ship or plane in which you made the crossing? (Some people remember scuttlebut to the effect that the Germans had poured gasoline on the water and planned to set it afire when the troops came in ). we didn't know what to look for- we had decoy raids to all parts of France and Germany we expected to get hit by many fighters but saw no air activity on the enemies part in our sector. one heavy burst of flak was all. they were taken by surprise completely

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- for Cornelius Ryan 2 - Your name Raymond E Jones

Did you by any chance keep a diary of what happened to you that day? No I didnt have time . we flew one mission and came right back. loaded our plane with bombs and stood by for another run.

Were any of your friends killed or wounded either during the landing or during the day? Yes on the ground none in the air Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties? did not see them Were you wounded ? No Do you remember what it was like --that is, do you remember whether you felt any pain or were you so surprised that you felt nothing? Do you remember seeing or bearing anything that seems funny now, even though it did not, of course, seem amusing at the time? Do you recall any incident, sad or heroic, or simply memorable, which struck you more than anything else? One thing sticks in my craw. The french people were not glad to see us. They were so goddam fat in some parts of France under the Germans that they were very unhappy when the Germans mined their roads and fields. and left. In fact as late as June of 45 they were still sullen. Of course in the farming district they were making out rather well and when their coast was invaded, they had to readjust themselves. I have a lot more respect for the German than I do for a lot of people on the continent. /?

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- for Cornelius Ryan 3 - Your name Raymond E Jones

In times of great crisis, people generally show either great ingenuity or self-reliance; others do incredibly stupid things. Do you remember any examples of either? [crossed out]yes several[end crossed out] negative

Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? At Bassingbourne, our bomber base just outside of Cambridge, England We were preparing for a briefing

Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? same place

Do you know of anybody else who landed within those 24 hours (midnight June 5 to midnight June 6) as infantry, glider or airborne troops, or who took part in the air and sea operations, whom we should write to? No

PLEASE LET US HAVE THIS QUESTIONNAIRE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, SO THAT WE CAN INCLUDE YOUR EXPERIENCES IN THE BOOK. WE HOPE THAT YOU WILL CONTINUE YOUR STORY ON SEPARATE SHEETS IF WE HAVE NOT LEFT SUFFICIENT ROOM. FULL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT WILL BE GIVEN IN A CHAPTER CALLED "WHERE THEY ARE NOW; YOUR NAME AND VOCATION OR OCCUPATION WILL BE LISTED.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP.

Cornelius Ryan

Frances Ward Research, The Reader's Digest

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AF

May 29, 1958

Mr. Raymond E. Jones 2417 Aster Street Lake Charles, Louisiana

Dear Mr. Jones:

Thank you very much for your letter and for your willingness to help us with Cornelius Ryan's book about D-Day. I hope you will forgive the delay in replying to your kind offer of assistance; we are gratified, but some- what overwhelmed, by the wonderful response which we are getting as a result of our requests for information.

During the next few months, both in this country and in Europe, Mr. Ryan will be interviewing many of the D-Day participants who agree to contribute to the book. Very probably, he will wish to talk with you during that period. In the meantime, since we are dealing with so many people, we have found it necessary to develop an individual file on each person who agrees to help us. Therefore, we hope you will complete the enclosed record and return it to me at your earliest convenience. We truly believe that these questions will serve you, as well as us, if they can help to crystallize some hazy memories and to indicate the sort of information which we are seeking.

I should be most grateful to know as soon as possible when and if you will be available for interview. We want very much to tell the story of your unit, and in order to do that we need the personal accounts of the men who were there. We particularly look forward to your reply.

Sincerely yours,

Frances Ward Research Department

FW:LL Enclosure

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