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Západ slunce nad AN2

Tales of men and machine

Jerrard Jefferies-Latimer

Jefferies Jerrard - Battle of Britain London Monument 450x600.jpg

Jerrard Jefferies-Latimer  (Battle of Britain London Monument)

*  9. 1916 Sutton Coldfield

† 12. 4.1966  u Sauvillers-Mongival (Francie)

Fighter pilot, squadron commander 310. čs. fighter squadron, fighter ace with five confirmed kills, commander 310. čs. fighter squadron, bomber pilot, squadron commander at 106. bomber squadron.


He graduated from the selective Warwick School and then joined the Royal Air Force in October 1936. He trained with the 3rd Flying Training School (FTS) at Grantham using a range of biplanes of the time. His first posting was to 17 Fighter Squadron from 7 August 1937, equipped with the new Hawker Hurricane Mk. I. From the autumn they were tasked with offensive patrols off the European coast. On 11 May 1940, during a clash with the German Luftwaffe, they scored their first success. From 17 May he was sent to the 85 Squadron deployed as part of the British Expeditionary Force in France. As a B-Flight commander he scored one probable kill. As early as 22 May, however, the unit was pulled back to the islands at Debden.

During the summer of 1940, RAF air units of a national character, made up of airmen from occupied Europe, began to emerge in Great Britain. For such, command positions and other key posts were duplicated to help British specialists to properly train and drill recruits to all prescribed standards. When the decision was made on 10 July to assemble the 310th Czechoslovak Fighter Squadron and its personnel assembled successively at Duxford Base, near Cambridge, individual commanders were appointed, with Flight Lieutenant (F/Lt, Captain) J. Jefferies and F/Lt František Rypl in charge of B Squadron. Training progressed well, and so as early as 17 August the Thirty-third could be declared operational. The first action occurred three days later. A three-man swarm led by Jefferies, nicknamed Venca fofr by the Czechoslovakians, took off in alarm and pursued a twin-engined Dornier Do 17, which soon disappeared into the clouds. On the last day of August, the encounter with the bombers was more successful, with the Hurricane Mk. I R4089 (NN-R) sent one Do 17 down in flames. During September he scored further hits - one Messerschnitt Bf 110 certain and one damaged, three shares of Do 17s destroyed and one bomber of the same type independently shot down, a Dornier Do 215 probably and a Junkers Ju 88 certainly destroyed. These extraordinary feats were awarded the high distinction of the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). From 1 January 1941 he led the entire squadron together with S/Ldr Alexander Hess, DFC. Early in the year he adopted his mother's maiden name, Latimer. After the March rearmament to the more powerful Hurricane Mk. IIa, he still recorded a share of one damaged Ju 88 and probably destroyed one such bomber.

On 8.7.1941 he went to 1455. squadron to Tangmere and took command. On Douglas Havoc bombers in the Turbinlite modification, they practiced special night tactics of co-opting a twin-engine machine with searchlight and radar accompanied by two single-seat fighters. From January 1942, he took a much-needed rest followed by service with a retraining unit for four-engined bombers. In early 1943 he became Squadron Leader of 106 Bomber Squadron based at Syerston, north-east of Nottingham, and armed with Avro Lancaster Mk. III. On Thursday, 15 April 1943, a raid on Stuttgart, Germany, was planned. As one of the seven, aircraft serial number ED752 (ZN-H) took off at 22:00 with F/Lt L. J. C. Broderick as crew and S/Ldr J. Latimer as co-pilot. No further reports from them reached the base... they took flak hits over the target, descending on the way back until they were set on fire by machine gun fire at ground level near Amiens, France. Of the eight airmen, only three survived the hard crash landing.

S/Ldr Jefferies-Latimer and his fellow soldiers were laid to rest in the Sauvillers-Mongival Cemetery.


Decorations for war service

Distinguished Flying Cross (British Distinguished Flying Cross), Czechoslovak War Cross 1939,...

Literature ​​

Joe, Čeští RAFáci, 2023

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