Stone, Gerald Cecil William (Gerald)
Mentioned in Despatches
Pilot Officer (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
No. 49988, 156 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Killed on active service on Thursday 27 August 1942 (aged 25)
Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany (Collective Grave 24. C. 12-18)
Gerald Cecil William Stone was born around 1917 and he was a son of Leonard William and Daisy Stone of Ipswich. He was the husband of Mary Mather (Mamie) Stone (nee Whittaker, sometimes Whitaker) of 31 Victoria Avenue, Newtownards. Gerald Stone and Maimie Whittaker were married on 6 January 1940 in Strean Presbyterian Church, Newtownards. Maimie’s brother, John Whittaker, served with the RAF in the Middle East.
During the Second World War Gerald Stone served with the Royal Air Force in Bomber Command and in the 5 September 1942 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle it was reported that he was missing in action over Germany. He was said to have shown exceptional ability as a gunner and bomb aimer and had taken part in 33 operational flights. Later it was officially confirmed that he had been killed in action along with his five comrades. Pilot Officer Gerald Cecil William Stone (No. 49988) was one of a six-man crew aboard a Vickers Wellington Mark III aircraft (X3367) that took off from RAF Warboys in Cambridgeshire at 8.26 pm on 27 August 1942 on a mission to bomb the Fiesler aircraft works at Kassel in Germany. They were shot down at 11.23 pm by a German night fighter and crashed into the Laurenz Textile Factory at Epe. They were buried in the Evangelical Cemetery at Rheine and later their bodies were exhumed and moved to Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. The other five crew members who died that night were:
- Flight Sergeant Michael Gordon Savage (aged 20) from Eastbourne, Sussex
- Sergeant Gilbert Hebblethwaite (aged 24) from Huddersfield
- Pilot Officer Peter Hayes (aged 20), Royal New Zealand Air Force
- Pilot Officer Jack Leewarden (aged 25) from Hampstead Heath, London
- Sergeant Frederick Valentine Herbert Shepherd
Pilot Officer Gerald Cecil William Stone (No. 49988) was 25 when he died.