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The Airmen's Stories - P/O D W A Stones

 

Donald William Alfred Stones was born in Norwich on 19th June 1921 and was educated at Ipswich Grammar School. He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his initial flying course on 1st May 1939 at 13 E&RFTS White Waltham.

He went on to 10 FTS Ternhill on 19th July and after completing his training he was posted to 11 Group Fighter Pool, St. Athan on 28th December 1939 to convert to Hurricanes.

On 26th January 1940 Stones joined 32 Squadron at Gravesend and moved to 79 Squadron at Biggin Hill on 19th March.

 

 

While at Gravesend, Stones had absent-mindedly turned up at breakfast with a child's book, Dimsie goes to School, sticking out of his pocket, this led to his lifelong nickname 'Dimsie'.

The squadron went to France on 10th May to reinforce the squadrons there.


On the 14th Stones destroyed a Ju88 and shared another, on the 18th he claimed a Me110 destroyed and another damaged and on the 19th and 20th he destroyed Hs126's. The squadron was withdrawn on the 20th.

On the 27th Stones destroyed a Me110 and probably a second, on 7th June probably destroyed a Me109 and on the 8th he shared a He111.


Stones was awarded the DFC (gazetted 4th June 1940) which he received from the King in a special ceremony at Biggin Hill on the 27th.

On the 23rd he had written off Hurricane P2698 when landing through fog and colliding with a gun emplacement.

He damaged a Me109 on 4th July and claimed a Me109 probably destroyed on the 9th. He was attached to the School of Air Navigation from 2nd to 25th August for a course.


He destroyed a Do17 and probably another on 31st August, a probable Do17 on 1st September, a probable Me110 on the 4th and a probable Do17 and a share in a probable Ju88 on the 7th.

On this day Stones was slightly wounded in combat and landed at West Malling. He rejoined 79 on the 26th and shared in destroying a He111 on 29th September.

He was posted away to CFS Upavon on 15th December 1940 for an instructors course, after which he went to 8 EFTS Woodley on 21st January 1941. Two months later Stones moved to 59 OTU Crosby-on-Eden to instruct on Hurricanes.


He rejoined 79 Squadron, then at Pembrey, on 26th May but left on 15th July to join 249 Squadron in Malta. He arrived as a passenger in a Blenheim from Gibraltar on the 19th and shared a Z1007 on the 25th. Stones joined the Malta Night Fighter Flight at Ta Kali on the 30th and shared another Z1007 during the night of 4th/5th September.

He baled out at 500 feet on the night of 9th November because of engine failure and landed safely. He was picked up by a gunner officer who produced a rare bottle of malt whisky that they proceeded to share. When Stones called his dispersal hut to report in he was told to get off the line as F/Lt. Stones had just been killed in a blazing Hurricane.

In February 1942 Stones was posted to 605 Squadron in Malta. On 1st March he damaged a Ju88, on the 6th destroyed a Me109, on the 9th got a probable Me109 and on the 18th damaged a Ju88.


He was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 10th April 1942) and posted on 22nd April to 73 OTU at El Ballah, Egypt as an instructor.

His stay was short and he took command of 155 Squadron on 10th May, newly-formed at Peshawar, India with Curtiss Mohawks. Stones led the squadron until 30th October.

He was then at Imphal, preparing for an operation when he was ordered to Madras where an Army provost officer, with whom he had clashed over some piffling matter of red tape, had started court martial proceedings against him.
In the event Stones was severely reprimanded, lost his command and squadron leader's rank, reverting to flight lieutenant, for using bad language to the provost officer.

After a rest, he was given command of 67 Squadron at Alipore, India on 1st February 1943.


He damaged a Japanese Ki-21 on 4th April and destroyed an Oscar on the ground on the airstrip at Kangaung, in Burma on 15th May. Stones was wounded in this action and was posted away. It was his last operational flight.


Stones became a test pilot at the Test Unit, Bombay on 1st July and was with the T&D Unit at Drigh Road, Karachi from 3rd September 1943 until 3rd September 1944, when he was posted back to the UK.

He joined RT&D at 218 MU Colerne on 15th November and remained with it until 29th March 1945. Stones was seconded as test pilot to Vickers Armstrong at Weybridge on 4th April and was grounded in September. Stones was watching a fellow officer fooling about with a detonator when it exploded, causing Stones to lose his left eye.

In October 1945 Stones was posted to the Air Ministry. He was released from the RAF in August 1946 as a Squadron Leader to take up an appointment as a District Officer in the Colonial Service.

He served in Kenya, Tanganyika and Malaya, as a District Officer and Magistrate. After Malaysian independence, Stones returned to England and farmed in the West Country.


Stones went back to Africa in the 1960s and set up an agency representing British and European aviation companies, acting as salesman and demonstrator.


He again returned to England in the mid-1970s and retired, giving up his pilot's licence.

Having retired to Hampshire, Stones kept busy by crewing for a yacht delivery syndicate.


He wrote two books of reminiscences, Operation Bograt (1990) and Dimsie (1991).


Stones died on 22nd October 2002.

 


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