|Published in the Enterprise 11/10/2006|
Funeral arrangements are pending for former Washington County resident R. Keith Jones. 84, who died Nov. 3, 2006, at a hospital in Olympia, Wash.
Mr. Jones was the son of Paul and Leona Jones, longtime residents in Washington County, and was a great-grandson of Soren and Sine Jensen, who homesteaded near Orum, in 1867.
Mr. Jones was a graduate of the University of Nebraska and earned a master’s degree from the University of Wyoming. He served as a navigator in the Army Air Force during World Was II, and was a prisoner of war in Germany for more than a year.
After his retirement from a career in the Air Force, he served as the county water engineer for Napa, Calif. for more than 20 years.
He is survived by a daughter, Jeanne J. Kinney of Shelton, Wash.; a son, Keith M Jones of Redmond, Wash.; four grandchildren; two sisters, Mary Jean Nelson of Fort Collins, Colo., and Paula J. Wehrman of Mill Creek, Wash.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Peggy (Renard) Jones, in 2002.
Pilot Tribune 10 Aug 1944
Jones Listed as Missing
Former Bennington Boy Was Lost Over Austria On July 25
Flight Officer Robert Keith Jones, 21, has been listed as “Missing in action”, war department officials have notified his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Paul G. Jones of Bennington.
Jones was based at Foggia, Italy, serving as navigator on a B-24 Liberator. Details of the communique stated that he and his fellow crew men were shot down over Austria. No further information is available at this time, however.
A nephew of Mr. and Mrs. Walter F. Gutschow of Blair, F/O Jones enlisted in the Army Air Corps in April, 1943. He received the major part of his training at Texas army camps, and was transferred overseas this spring.
Pilot Tribune 24 Aug 1944
FO Jones is Prisoner of Germany
Arlington Flight Officer Reported Held In German Prison Camp
Flight Officer Robert Keith Jones, who was reported missing in action on July 3, now is reported to be a prisoner of war. An official telegram, received this week by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Paul G. Jones of Benning, follows:
Report just received through the International Red Cross states that your son, Flight Officer, Robert Keith Jones, is a prisoner of war of the German government. Letter of information follows from Provost Marshall General.
F/O Jones had been stationed in Italy, and is believed to have been a crew member of a bomber which took off from an advanced Italian base on July 3. He is a nephew of Mr. and Mrs. Walter F. Gutschow of Blair, and is well-known in the Arlington vicinity.
Enterprise 31 May 1945
Keith Jones Liberated From German Prison
Arlington – Mr. and Mrs. Paul G. Jones of the Dale vicinity received a letter on Saturday from their son 22-year-old Flight Officer Keith Jones, telling them that he was in France and had just been liberated from a German prison camp at Stalagluft, Barth, Germany. Mr. and Mrs. Jones had not heard from him since they received a letter written on September 20th, and they were getting somewhat uneasy.
FO Jones write that he was liberated by the Russians. He is in good health and said that, with the exception of one month when they did not get their Red Cross packages, they were quite well fed. That particular month they were forced to live on scant German rations. He said after their liberation that the Russians confiscated some German cattle and told the liberated prisoners to go ahead and butcher what they wanted, which Jones said, it didn’t take long to do.
Jones’s plane was shot down in flames over Lenz, Austria, on July 25th, 1944, and was picked up immediately by Ack Ack troops. He escaped without a scratch.
Prior to enlisting in the Army Air Corps, Jones had attended the State University after graduating from South High School in Omaha. He was on his 42nd mission when shot down.
Mr. and Mrs. Jones are expecting Keith to arrive home any day, as he thought it was possible he might be flown to the States.
Enterprise 10 Aug 1944
Arlington Lad Missing Since Austria Raid
Flight Officer Robert K. Jones Fails To Return July 25th
Is Son Of Mr. And Mrs. Paul Jones
Word has reached relatives in this county that Flight Officer Robert K. Jones has been lost in action somewhere over Austria. Jones is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul G. Jones of the Arlington vicinity, and is well known to many Blair people.
Information regarding the lost airman is slight but it is known that he has been stationed at Foggia, Italy, from which base he has been flying in a Liberator bomber as a navigator. On July 25th his ship failed to return and his whereabouts and his fate is unknown.
Jones has been in Italy but a short time and the exact number of missions in which he has participated is not known.
Arlington Review Herald 23 Nov 1944
Keith Jones A Prisoner In Germany
Paul G. Jones has received word through the International Red Cross that their son, Keith, is at a prison camp near Barth, Germany, on the Baltic Sea. They are permitted to send him an eleven pound package every 60 days. Mail to the prisoners of war seems to get through the censors more promptly when printed on special Prisoner of War stationery, obtainable at any post office. The Jones’ have received no word directly from Keith since his plane was downed last July. His address is:
P/O Robert K. Jones, Prisoner of War No. 5027, Camp Name and No., Stalag Lust 111, Subsidiary Camp No. Stalag Lust 1, Country Germany, Via New York, New York.
~~~ Obituary courtesy of the Washington County Genealogical Society. Newspaper clippings on file in the Blair Public Library at Blair, Nebraska.~~~