Sergeant Thomas Jaye - 617 Squadron  

Sergeant Thomas Jaye - RAFVR

 Sergeant Thomas Jaye was serving as Naviagator on board Lancaster Mk.III ED-865 coded AJ-S during Operation Chastise on May 16/17, 1943. The aircraft left Scampton at 0011 hours as part of the third and final wave of Operation Chastise, they were tasked to bomb the Sorpe Dam.

 The aircraft was following the Wilhelmina Canal near Eindhoven as a navigational aid after ariving safely at the Dutch coast. Pilot Officer Burpee attempted to avoid the searchlights and flak, but the Lancaster was hit and caught fire, crashing onto the aerodrome at Gilze-Rijen, causing a massive explosion to the buildings. The entire crew was lost.

 The crew consisted of:

Name Service Trade Hometown Age
P/O Lewis Burpee RCAF Pilot Ottawa, Ontario 25
Sgt Guy Pegler RAFVR Flight Engineer Bath, Somerset 21
Sgt Thoms Jaye RAFVR Navigator Crook Co., Durham 21
P/O Leonard Weller RAFVR W/Op/AG Hornsey, Middlesex 28
W/O2 James Arthur RCAF Bomb Aimer Coldwater, Ontario 25
Sgt William Long RAFVR Air Gunner Bournemouth, Hampshire 19
W/O2 Joseph Brady RCAF Air Gunner Ponoka, Alberta 27


 Sergeant Thomas Jaye was the son of James and Helena (Lena) Jaye of 9,Willow Avenue, Crook, Co.Durham.He was born on the 3rd of October 1922 and worked as an electrical engineer. Thomas Jaye, known as Tom, spent his last leave before his final mission staying with his cousin Derek and family in Durham before visiting his mother at Crook.

Service History

Enlisted 1941

No 1RC. 3.3.1941

No 7 RC. 4.3.1941

Kenley 18.4.1941

Bircham Newton 28.6.1941

PAA 14.10.1941

No31 PD 25.10.1941

No 3 PRC 8.4.1942

No 25 Operational Training Unit 14.7.1942

106 squadron 26.12.1942

Joined 617 squadron on 29.3.1943

Wing Commander Guy Gibson wrote to Mrs Jaye on the 20th of May 1943 in his role as Station Commander of 617 Squadron to inform her officially of the loss of Tom and the rest of the crew. Wing Commander Gibson was later to lose his life on the 19th of September 1944.

With the help of the Barnes Wallis Memorial Trust, a propeller blade from Lancaster ED865 AJ-S was found and is now on display at Hangar 1 in the Newark Air Museum alongside other Lancaster and Dambusters memorabilia.


 The crew were originally buried at Breda, they have since been re-interred in Bergen-op-Zoom Cemetery in the Netherlands.

  Photos courtesy of David & Derek Storey, research by Linda Ibrom.