Pilot Officer  G.P.R. Bond DFC

 

The summary below was provided by Jon Hipkins.

The photos below come from varied sources viz: Jon Hipkins, Wim Govaerts, Wayne Welford, Kenneth T. Smith  and Peter Cunliffe.

Thanks guys, this is your page, I am just happy to be the conduit.

 

Gerald Bond was born on 18th December 1921. The only son of Gerald Robert and Florence Bond of 74 Seabourne Road, Bournemouth, Hampshire he was educated at Boscombe Junior School before taking a job with Messrs. Fox and Sons Estate Agents, Holdenhurst Road in Bournemouth. His parents were seperated and because his father was in the Merchant Navy, he was raised by his grandmother, Alice (Bournemouth). A keen amateur athlete and member of the Boy's Brigade, he volunteered for aircrew duties with the RAF in 1941, but unfortunately lacked the necessary mathematics qualifications and was advised to take evening classes at the local college for another six months. After much hard work on his part, he was finally accepted for pilot training in late 1941. After Elementary and Advanced Flying training in Canada and the United States, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant (Service Number 1314000), before joining an Operational Training Unit (OTU). Following a spell at a Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU), he joined 101 Squadron at RAF Holme-on-Spalding Moor in May 1943 and commenced his operational tour flying on Lancaster I's with a trip to Dortmund on the 23rd of that month. On the 15th of June 1943, 101 Sqn moved to a new airfield at RAF Ludford Magna in Lincolnshire.  
 
On the 5th of July Flt Sgt (Acting Warrant Officer) Bond was granted a commission as a Pilot Officer on probation in the RAFVR (Service Number 149966). With his crew, he completed 17 operational sorties (including two trips to Italy) with 101 Squadron before being posted to 156 (Pathfinder) Squadron at RAF Warboys, Huntingdonshire on the 14th of October 1943. After a short training period with the Navigation Training Unit (NTU) at RAF Upwood, the Bond crew commenced operations against Hanover on the 18th of October as a ‘backer up’. A sortie to Leipzig followed two days later when they bombed the city from 14,500 ft with 1 x 4000 lb High Capacity bomb, 5 x 500 lb Medium Capacity bombs and 2 x 500 lb delayed action General Purpose bombs.  
 
After two weeks of relative inactivity they were back in action with a successful raid on the marshalling yards at Modane in France on the 10th of November. Following this relatively ‘easy’ target, the crew proceeded to take part in what is now commonly known as the ‘Battle of Berlin’. Along with hundreds of other PFF and Main Force aircraft they attacked the ‘Big City’ on the 22nd (764 aircraft despatched and 26 lost), 23rd (383 aircraft despatched and 20 lost) and 26th of November (450 aircraft despatched, 28 lost to enemy action and 14 crashed in England). Their fourth consecutive Berlin raid took place on the 16th of December when the crew took Lancaster JB 307 on the long haul to the capital. It was however their final mission of 1943 that proved to be the most eventful yet. Taking off from Warboys at 1728 hours on the 20th of December, they bombed the city of Frankfurt, but were badly shot up on the journey home. The citation recommending Bond for the immediate award of the DFC explains what happened:  
 
"1. On the night of 20th/21st December 1943, Pilot Officer Bond was detailed as captain of Lancaster JB 307 to act as visual marker in an attack on Frankfurt.  
2. After successfully bombing the target and passing through its defences, his aircraft was attacked at 1936 hours by a F.W. 190, but by skilful evasive action and accurate fire from the rear turret, this enemy fighter was evaded.  
3. At 2002 hours his Lancaster was then attacked by a Ju.88, which carried out a series of four attacks with cannon and machine gun fire. Damage caused to his aircraft was extensive, the mid-upper gunner {Plt Off C. H. Moon (NZ412348) RNZAF} was seriously wounded, the port inner petrol tank holed and the starboard outer engine caught fire, putting the mid-upper turret and navigational aids out of action. The starboard tyre was punctured, the tail wheel completely buckled and the fuselage and appendage extensively damaged. Although two guns in the rear turret became unserviceable, and the mid-upper turret crippled, Pilot Officer Bond executed the correct evasive action and the Ju.88 was successfully shaken off.  
4. At 2012 hours Pilot Officer Bond’s aircraft was again attacked by an unidentified enemy night fighter which was skilfully evaded, only one attack being allowed to develop.  
5. By this time, owing to the large amount of evasive action which the aircraft had to undertake, his aircraft crossed the enemy coast over Rotterdam, being immediately subjected to heavy predicted flak. The appropriate evasive action was taken and only slight damage was sustained by the aircraft.  
6. On arrival at base after a hazardous flight in which the aircraft had been difficult to control, Pilot Officer Bond landed safely his badly damaged aircraft at 22.25 hours.  
7. It is considered that Pilot Officer Bond’s airmanship and skill as a pilot were of the highest order. His superb efficiency as an operational captain of aircraft, in carrying out the correct actions in every one of the most difficult situations in which he found himself, were most certainly instrumental in bringing his aircraft and crew safely back to base.  
8. I can strongly recommend this officer, who has always shown the utmost devotion to duty, for the immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Cross."
 


Pilot Officer Moon was rushed to the RAF Hospital at Ely and survived the gunshot wound to his back and chest. He was subsequently awarded an immediate DFC for remaining at his post, without complaint, throughout the ordeal. The rear gunner 1432425 Flt Sgt R. Underwood was awarded an immediate DFM.  
 
The A.M Form 78 - Aircraft Movement Card - confirms that JB307 was placed Cat AC Repairable on site, i.e. at Warboys on 21.12.43 after FB (Flying Battle Damage). It returned to 156 Sqn on the 29th of January 1944 only to be lost on a raid to Friedrichshafen on the 27th of April 1944.  
 
Neither Flt Sgt Underwood nor Gerald Bond lived to receive their awards. At 0023 hrs on Sunday the 2nd of January 1944, Bond took Avro Lancaster III (ND 384 GT-D) on yet another raid to attack Berlin. On the return journey the Lancaster crashed at Grandrieu (Hainaut) close to the Franco-German border. All on board were killed. It is believed that their aircraft was shot down by the night fighter ace (and CO of 1./NJG4), Major Wilhelm Herget at 05.46 hrs. It was their 27th operation of the war. Of the 421 Lancasters taking part in the Berlin raid that night, 28 are listed as being lost (3 being from 156 Sqn).  
 
The crew are all buried at Chievres Communal Cemetery in Belgium. It is reported that Pilot Officer Moon died in Canada in 1966.  
 
Exactly one year before the day of the raid on Frankfurt, Pilot Officer Bond had lost his father, Gerald Robert Bond (Bob) who was Radio Officer on board the SS Oropos (torpedoed by U 621 in the North Atlantic whilst on route to Canada).

Crew of ND384 on Final Mission.

Pilot Officer G P R BOND DFC
Pilot Officer A MORASSI
Sergeant G BARRY
Pilot Officer C E BLANCHETTE
Flying Officer A R BOLSOVER
Flying Officer V WATERHOUSE DFC
Flight Sergeant R UNDERWOOD DFM

 

ThumbNail Photo Title ThumbNail Photo Title ThumbNail Photo Title
P/O G.P.R. BOND BOND Medal Group BOND Transmittal Slip for Decorations
BOND DFC News Clipping BOND MIA News Clipping BONDs Father MIA News Clipping
BOND Best Man at Kenneth T. Smith Wedding 1941 Left to Right. Unknown - Barry - Unknown Barry on Left, Unknown on Right
G Barry Portrait G Barry Crew G Barry Grave Marker
Blachette and Bolsover Grave Marker UnderWood and Waterhouse Grave Marker Bond / Morassi Grave Marker