Air Marshal George Jones, KBE, CB, DFC
Date of birth: 22 November 1896
Place of birth: Rushworth, VIC
Date of death: 24 August 1992
Place of death: Melbourne, VIC
George Jones rose from being a private in the First World War to Chief of the Air Staff in the Second World War. He was born in Rushworth, Victoria, on 22 November 1896 to a farming family. Having left school at 14, Jones became a motor mechanic. He enlisted in the AIF in 1914, sailed for Egypt in July 1915 with the 9th Light Horse Regiment, and reached Gallipoli in September.
After Gallipoli, Jones joined the Imperial Camel Corps but transferred to the Australian Flying Corps in October 1916. He arrived in France in December 1916 and applied to become a pilot, graduating on 22 November 1917. He was badly wounded in March 1918 but by the end of the war had shot down seven German aircraft, reached the rank of captain, and been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. After a period in occupied Germany with No. 4 Squadron, Jones returned to Australia in June 1919.
Jones worked as a mechanic and a pilot before receiving a short service commission in the Royal Australian Air Force. For much of the next five years he was in charge of the Point Cook workshops and was responsible for air testing newly repaired aircraft. On 1 July 1923 he was promoted to flight lieutenant and was made a squadron leader. In 1926 he transferred to the Flying Training School where he was an instructor and in charge of stores. Two years later he sailed for England to attend the Royal Air Force Staff College. Jones then attended - and graduated at the top of - the flying instructor's course at the Central Flying School in Yorkshire.
He returned to Australia in October 1930 and was given command of the Flying Training Squadron at Point Cook, a job that also carried the position of Chief Flying Instructor. After two years in this position, Jones was promoted to the position of Director of Training at RAAF Headquarters. On 1 January 1936 he was promoted to wing commander and appointed Director of Personnel Services. When the Second World War began, Jones was Assistant Chief of the Air Staff. He was involved in the establishment of the Empire Air Training Scheme before gaining further promotion, to group captain. Along with this promotion came his appointment as Director of Training.
In May 1942, Jones was appointed Chief of the Air Staff and promoted to air vice marshal. At the end of the war he represented the RAAF at the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay. He continued to oversee RAAF operations during the Berlin Airlift, the Korean War, and in Malaya.
Jones retired from the RAAF in 1952 and was knighted in March 1954. Upon retiring he took up the position of Director of Coordination with the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation. He retired, aged 60, in 1957 but continued to serve on the board of Ansett Transport Industries, a position he held for almost twenty years from 1951. He died in Melbourne in August 1992.