The Airmen's Stories -F/Lt. J Jefferies
Jerrard Jefferies, of Sutton Coldfield, was born in September 1916, the son of Frederick Jefferson Jefferies (1877-1940) and Ethel Maud Jefferies (nee Latimer 1892-1964).
His father was a partner in Kenrick and Jefferson Ltd, Stationery Manufacturers of West Bromwich.
He was educated at Warwick School and joined the RAF on a short service commission in October 1936.
He was posted to 3 FTS, Grantham on 11th January 1937 and joined 17 Squadron at Kenley on 7th August.
On 11th May 1940, on a sweep over Holland, Jefferies shot down a Hs126 at Delft-Hague. He was posted to France and joined 85 Squadron at Lille/Seclin on 17th May.
He was appointed ‘B’ Flight Commander on the same day, as an Acting Flight Lieutenant. On the 19th he probably destroyed a Me109. The squadron was withdrawn to Debden on 22nd May.
On 9th July Jefferies was posted to 310 Squadron, then forming with Czech pilots at Duxford, as a Flight Commander.
Above images courtesy of the JE Hybler archive.
On 31st August and 3rd September he claimed Me110s destroyed, on the 7th he damaged another, on the 15th he destroyed a He111 and shared three Do17s and on the 18th he destroyed a Do17.
Jefferies was awarded the DFC (gazetted 1st October 1940) and the Czech Military Cross (gazetted 24th December 1940).
In January 1941 he took command of the squadron. In this month he married Winifred Mary Butler at All Saints Church, Ripley, Leamington Spa.
On 1st March Jefferies changed his name to his mother's maiden name, Latimer, by deed poll, for reasons unknown.
On the 27th he damaged a Ju88 and during the night of April 8/9th he probably destroyed a Ju88.
Latimer left 310 Squadron in June 1941 and on 7th July went to Tangmere to form and command 1455 Flight, a Turbinlite Havoc unit. He led the Flight until January 1942.
He was killed on 15th April 1943, as a Squadron Leader with 106 Squadron, flying in a Lancaster from Syerston on a sortie to Stuttgart. Latimer was flying as second pilot to F/Lt. LCJ Broderick, he had not long joined 106 Squadron to take up the vacant 'A' Flight Commander post.
His Lancaster ED752 ZN*H was hit over the target which resulted in it losing considerable altitude. Flying at about 100 feet over Amiens the bomber was raked with ground machine gun ﬁre and was set on fire. With no height for a bale out, Broderick crash landed at Sauvillers-Mongival, SE of Amiens in France, at 0330 hours.
Lt(A) G Muttrie RNVR was aboard as one of the observers from the Fleet Air Arm seconded to bomber command squadrons for their knowledge of ship recognition, they flew as Bomb Aimers not navigators.
Muttrie, attached from HMS Daedalus, had flown with Guy Gibson on the sortie that took the broadcaster Richard Dimbleby over Berlin on 16th/17th January 1943.
The other crew members were:
Sgt GW Hancock KIA
Lt(A) G.Muttrie RNVR KIA
Sgt H Buxton KIA
Sgt WT McLean KIA
Sgt H Jones PoW
F/Lt. LCJ Brodrick PoW
P/O JA Burns RCAF PoW
F/Lt. LCJ Brodrick was the 52nd escapee in the 'Great Escape' from Sagan, he was recaptured and survived the war.
Latimer is buried in Sauvillers-Mongival Communal Cemetery along with the other crew members who were lost.
Additional research courtesy of Clive Smith of www.106squadron.com