Private 28327 Benjamin Jones

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Benjamin Jones and Annie Skidmore on their wedding day; the full-length photo can be seen at the bottom of the page. Photo courtesy of Claire Burrill.

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 10th April 1918, age 25.
Commemorated on Panel 5 of Ploegsteert Memorial, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium.

3rd Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 74th Brigade of 25th Division.
Formerly 28327 4th Worcestershire Regiment.

Husband of Mrs Annie Elsie Jones, of 112½ Cattell Road, Small Heath, Birmingham.
Born: Horseley Heath, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: Birmingham.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Salem Chapel Memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/871927/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Benjamin Jones registered June quarter 1893 in Dudley, he was christened on 16th April 1893 at St. Martin's Church, Lower Church Lane, Tipton.

1901 Census
Lower Church Lane, Tipton, Staffs.
Benjamin Jones (31, Brickmaker, born Tipton), his wife Elizabeth (30, born Coseley), and their 2 children: Joseph (9, born Tipton), and Benjamin (8, born Tipton).

1911 Census
339 Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
Benjamin Jones (Widower, 42, Labourer, born Tipton), and 2 of his 3 children: Benjamin (18, Glass Blower, born Tipton), and Phyllis (8, School, born Tipton).

Benjamin Jones and Annie Elsie Skidmore married on 24th June 1916 at St. Andrew's Church, Bordesley, Birmingham. Benjamin was 23 years old and a "soldier at Fort Tregantle, Plymouth"; his father, Benjamin, was a Glass Blower. Annie was 22 years old, her father, Thomas Skidmore, was also a Glass blower. Annie's address was 112½ Cattell Road, Small Heath, this was her parent's address in 1911 and she lived there until at least 1957 through 2 marriages and 4 children. A son, Leonard Thomas Jones, was born on 25th May 1917.

Annie re-married in June 1922 to Frank Ernest Hatton and had a further 3 children with Frank.

Personal Data

Benjamin's older brother, Joseph Jones, was also a casualty of the Great War. He died of wounds on 2nd September 1915 whilst serving with the 1st Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment, and is buried in Lijssenhoek Military Cemetery, near Poperinge in Belgium.

After Benjamin's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £8/6/2d (8 pounds, 6 shillings and 2 pence); this was paid to his wife, Annie E., in July and August 1918. His War Gratuity was £9/10/0d (9 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his Annie in December 1919 and February 1920. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Benjamin had enlisted in January 1916.

Annie was awarded a Widow's Pension of £1/0/5d (1 pound and 5 pence) per week for herself and her 1 child. This was effective from 11th November 1918. A grant of £5/0/0d (5 pounds exactly) had been paid on 18th May 1918. This Pension element in respect of Annie should have ceased on her re-marriage in June 1922; there is no record on the Penson Card of this having happened.

Action resulting in his death

The 3rd Worcesters, as part of the 74th Brigade of 25th Division, were in reserve just south of Neuve Eglise when the Battle of the Lys commenced on the 9th April continuing until 29th April 1918. The Germans had broken the Portuguese line and were advancing north-west towards the River Lys. 74th Brigade, including the 3rd Worcesters, were 'loaned' to XV Corps and the Worcesters were ordered to take and hold 2 miles of the north bank of the River Lys, just to the west of Erquingham-Lys. This element of the Battle of the Lys, from 9th to 11th April, was named the Battle of Estaires.

The Worcesters were successful in driving back the Germans and taking their allotted section of the Lys, but during the 10th April were forced to fall back to maintain the line with neighbouring Battalions who were themselves being forced back. On the 10th April, they were forced back to the north east of Steenwerck, where they were driven from their new line along the railway embankment to form a composite defensive line with the 4th Worcesters. This line, north of Steenwerck, held for the remainder of the 10th April.

38 Other Ranks of the 3rd Worcesters were killed during the actions of 10th April, Private Benjamin Jones amongst them. Like many of his comrades killed on that day, he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings

National Roll of the Great War - Birmingham Volume, page 235.
Jones B., Pte., 3rd Worcestershire Regiment.
He volunteered in January 1916, and later in the same year was drafted to France. There he took part in many engagements, including the Battles of Arras, Vimy Ridge, Messines and Lens, and was killed in action at Cambrai on April 10th 1918. He was entitled to the General Service and Victory Medals.
112½ Cattell Road, Bordesley Green, Birmingham.

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Benjamin Jones and Annie Skidmore on their wedding day. Photo courtesy of Claire Burrill.