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Name: James Ira Thomas "Taffy" Jones
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Military Cross (MC)
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Military Medal (MM)
James Ira Thomas Jones
Country: Wales
Rank: Captain
Service: Royal Flying Corps
Units: 10, 74
Victories: 37
Born: 18 April 1896
Place of Birth: St. Clears, Carmarthenshire
Died: 29 August 1960
Place of Death: Swansea, Glamorgan
Cemetery: Cana Chapel, Bancyfelin, Carmarthenshire
 
 
James Ira Thomas Jones enlisted in 1913. When the war began, he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and joined 10 Squadron as an air mechanic. In July 1915 he was sent to France and by January 1916 he was flying combat missions as an observer. He returned to England for pilot training in May 1917 and received Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate 5153 on the Maurice Farman biplane at Military School, Ruislip on 26 August 1917. Posted to 74 Squadron in early 1918, he developed a close bond with his flight commander, Mick Mannock, and developed an unfortunate habit of crashing aircraft while attempting to land. In just three months he scored 37 victories flying the S.E.5a. Jones later volunteered to fight the Bolsheviks and was posted to the Archangel front but saw no further air combat. He retired from the Royal Air Force in 1936 but was recalled to active duty in 1939. During the Battle of Britain, whilst flying an unarmed Hawker Henley, he attacked a Junkers Ju 88 bomber with a Verey pistol.

The author of three books, Ira Jones died in hospital from injuries sustained in a fall from a ladder at his home in 1960.

"It is wonderful how cheered a pilot becomes after he shoots down his first machine; his moral[e] increases by at least 100 per cent." Ira Jones1

"My habit of attacking Huns dangling from their parachutes led to many arguments in the mess. Some officers, of the Eton and Sandhurst type, thought I was 'unsportsmanlike' to do it. Never having been to a public school, I was unhampered by such considerations of form. I just pointed out that there was a bloody war on, and that I intended to avenge my pals." Ira Jones2

1 Robert L. Shaw, Fighter Combat: Tactics and Maneuvering (Annapolis: United States Naval Institute, 1985) 57.
2 Dave English, The Air Up There: More Great Quotations on Flight (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003) 203.
 
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Lt. (temp. Capt.) James Iva Thomas Jones, M.M.
   In eleven days this officer attacked and destroyed six enemy aeroplanes, displaying great courage, skill and initiative.
 
Military Cross (MC)
T./Lt. James Ira Thomas Jones, M.M., R.A.F.
   For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. This officer, one of an offensive patrol, engaged and shot down in flames a two-seater, which fell to earth. Ten days later, on offensive patrol, he shot down a Hanover two-seater, which crashed. The next day, when patrolling, he pursued, overtook and shot down an Albatross two-seater. During the same flight he met a Halberstadt two-seater and killed the observer, who either jumped or fell overboard, but had to break off as his ammunition was finished. The next day he shot a balloon down in flames. Three days later he got a good burst with both guns on a Pfalz scout, both wings coming off. He has driven two others down out of control.
 
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) Bar
Lieut. (T./Capt.) James Ira Thomas Jones, M.C., D.F.C., M.M.
   A gallant officer who in the last three months has destroyed twenty-one enemy aeroplanes. On one occasion he attacked a Halberstadt two-seater, which was escorted by two scouts. On his approach the scouts deserted the two-seater, which he shot down in flames. He then pursued the two scouts, one of which he destroyed.
   (M.C. gazetted 16th September, 1918, D.F.C. gazetted 3rd August, 1918, M.M. gazetted 10th August, 1916.)
 
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Lieut. (T./Capt.) James Ira Thomas Jones, M.C., D.F.C., M.M.
   Since joining his present Brigade in May last this officer has destroyed twenty-eight enemy machines. He combines skilful tactics and marksmanship with high courage. While engaged on wireless interception duty he followed a patrol of nine Fokker biplanes, and succeeded in joining their formation unobserved. After a while two Fokkers left the formation to attack one of our artillery observation machines. Following them, Captain Jones engaged the higher of the two, which fell on its companion, and both machines fell interlocked in flames.
 
Victories
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 08 May 1918 1825 74 S.E.5a (C6406) C (DESF) Bailleul-Nieppe
2 12 May 1918 1822 74 S.E.5a (C6406) Albatros D.V (OOC) N of Wulverghem
3 17 May 1918 0930 74 S.E.5a (C1117) Hannover C (DESF) Merville-Estaires
4 17 May 1918 0930 74 S.E.5a (C1117) Albatros C (OOC) Merville
5 18 May 1918 1250 74 S.E.5a (C1117) Albatros C (DESF) Nieppe
6 19 May 1918 1655 74 S.E.5a (C1117) Balloon (DES) NW of Armentières
7 22 May 1918 1245 74 S.E.5a (C1117) Pfalz D.III (DESF) Quesnoy
8 22 May 1918 1815 74 S.E.5a (C1117) Pfalz D.III (OOC) Fromelles
9 26 May 1918 1955 74 S.E.5a (C1117) Pfalz D.III (DES) N of Armentières
10 27 May 1918 1100 74 S.E.5a (C1117) Albatros C (DES) NE of Nieppe Forest
11 27 May 1918 1130 74 S.E.5a (C1117) Halberstadt C (OOC) Neuf Berquin
12 30 May 1918 1505 74 S.E.5a (C1117) LVG C (DES) E of Bailleul
13 30 May 1918 2035 74 S.E.5a (C1117) Halberstadt C (DES) SE of Bois du Beiz
14 31 May 1918 1910 74 S.E.5a (C1117) Pfalz D.III (DES) Ploegsteert Wood
15 31 May 1918 1945 74 S.E.5a (C1117) Pfalz D.III (OOC) Comines
16 01 Jun 1918 0740 74 S.E.5a (C1117) Pfalz D.III (DES) E of Dickebusch Lake
17 18 Jun 1918 1230 74 S.E.5a (C1117) DFW C (DES) N of Bailleul
18 21 Jun 1918 2015 74 S.E.5a (D6895) LVG C (DESF) Ploegsteert Wood
19 25 Jun 1918 1215 74 S.E.5a (D6895) Halberstadt C (DESF) Steenwerck
20 25 Jun 1918 1230 74 S.E.5a (D6895) Fokker D.VII (DES) Estaires
21 27 Jun 1918 1130 74 S.E.5a (D6895) Hannover C (DESF) La Couture
22 29 Jun 1918 1945 74 S.E.5a (D6895) Fokker D.VII (DES) Comines
23 01 Jul 1918 1350 74 S.E.5a (D6895) Rumpler C (DES) Tourcoing
24 24 Jul 1918 0720 74 S.E.5a (D6895) DFW C (DES) Merville
25 24 Jul 1918 1720 74 S.E.5a (D6895) DFW C (DESF) Merville
26 24 Jul 1918 1730 74 S.E.5a (D6895) DFW C (OOC) E of Kemmel
27 25 Jul 1918 1105 74 S.E.5a (D6895) DFW C (DESF) SE of Neuve Eglise
28 26 Jul 1918 0515 74 S.E.5a (D6895) DFW C (DES) W of Bailleul
29 30 Jul 1918 1210 74 S.E.5a (D6895) Rumpler C (DESF) 1 Cassell-Ypres
30 30 Jul 1918 1230 74 S.E.5a (D6895) LVG C (DES) Merville
31 30 Jul 1918 1750 74 S.E.5a (D6938) Fokker D.VII (OOC) E of Armentières
32 03 Aug 1918 1940 74 S.E.5a (E5967) LVG C (DES) SE of Merville
33 04 Aug 1918 1710 74 S.E.5a (D6958) Hannover C (DES) W of Estaires
34 06 Aug 1918 0750 74 S.E.5a (D6958) Fokker D.VII (DESF) Sailly sur la Lys
35 06 Aug 1918 0750 74 S.E.5a (D6958) Fokker D.VII (DESF) Sailly sur la Lys
36 07 Aug 1918 1225 74 S.E.5a (D6958) LVG C (DES) SE of Estaires
37 07 Aug 1918 1715 74 S.E.5a (D6958) C (DES) E of Houthoulst Forest

1 Shared with George Gauld, Harold Shoemaker
 
Books
An Air Fighter's Scrapbook (Vintage Aviation Library, 24)
Ira Jones / Paperback / Presidio Pr 1991
King of the Air Fighters
The biography of Major "Mick" Mannock; Ira Jones / Paperback / Presidio Pr 1989
Tiger Squadron
The story of 74 Squadron, R.A.F., in two world wars; Ira Jones / Paperback / Award Books 1966
 
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