Service of Commemoration to mark the 80th Anniversary of the Dambusters “Operation Chastise”
Crook War Memorial Tuesday 16th May 2023 Commencing 21:10
Sergeant Thomas Jay
Thomas Jaye was born on 3rd October 1922, one of the two sons of James and Helena Jaye of Crook, Co. Durham. His father worked as a miner at Roddymoor Collery. He went to Wolsingham Grammar School. After leaving school he worked as an electrical engineer.
He joined the RAF in 1941 and was sent for training as a navigator to the flying school run by Pan-American in Miami, Florida. His final stint of training, after arriving back in the UK, was at 1654 Conversion Unit at RAF Wigsley in November and December 1942. He was posted to 106 Squadron on 28 December 1942 and was navigator on 16 operations before being transferred out on 29th March 1943.
Jaye’s first flight in 617 Squadron was on 31 March, and he went on to complete another 21 training flights in April. In early May, the crew were given some leave and Jaye came home to see his mother at Crook.
A few days later, in the early hours of Monday 17 May 1943, he was dead when his AJ-S was shot down some two hours after take-off. The Germans could not individually identify the bodies of Guy Pegler, Bill Long, Tom Jaye and James Arthur, so they were buried in a communal grave in Zuylen Cemetery, Prinsenhage, next to the individual graves of Lewis Burpee, Gordon Brady and Leonard Weller. After the war the bodies of all seven were exhumed and reburied in Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery. Thomas Jaye was just 21 years old when he was killed.
21:10 March from Royal Corner by The RAF Air Cadets of 2505 Bishop Auckland Squadron
Assemble at War Memorial
Reverend Linda Lindsay Priest in Charge
St Catherine’s Parish Church
Chair of Crook & District Branch RAF Association
Area Chair of Scotland, Northern Ireland,
Northern England RAF Association
Flt Lt Ian Pepper
2505 Bishop Auckland Squadron
RAF Air Cadets
21:28 The Last Post
Pictures courtesy of P. Turnbull.