Private 9541 James Jones

Jones James 96 400x600

Killed in Action on Monday, 10th May 1915, age 37.
Buried in Grave E. 1. at Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery, Fleurbaix, Pas De Calais, France.

1st Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 24th Brigade of 8th Division.

of Park Lane West, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 12th December 1914.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/303169/

Genealogical Data

1891 Census
26 Castle Road, Tipton, Staffs.
John Jones (40, Labourer in Forge, born Tipton), his wife Sarah (40, born Tipton), and their 6 children: James (14, Labourer in Iron Foundry, born Tipton), Thomas (12, School, born Tipton), Margaret (7, Scholar, born Tipton), Mary Ann (5, born Tipton), Martha (3, born Tipton), and Thomas (1 month, born Tipton).

It is known that James served in the Boer War, so it is possible that he was in South Africa in 1901 as he cannot be traced in England.

1911 Census
5 House 5 Court (Lion Yard), Park Lane West, Tipton, Staffs.
James Hayes (42, Coal Miner, born Tipton), his wife Annie (42, born Tipton), and 4 of their 6 surviving children of 7: Emily (14, At home, born Tipton), Elsie (12, School, born Tipton), Sarah (10, School, born Tipton), and Martha (6, School, born Tipton).
Also Lodger James Jones (33, Labourer at Iron Works, born Tipton). This is Private James Jones, as Annie Hayes is his elder married sister.

Personal Data

James married Florence Paskin, a widow, on 7th July 1913. The Tipton Herald reported James' death on 22nd May 1915, giving his address as Park Lane West. His Army Records show his widow's address as 2 Navigation Row in June 1915, and in 1919 living at 6 Court 4 House, Wood Street, Tipton.

James Jones enlisted on the 15th October 1914 at Tipton, initially signing up for just one year with the 6th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment. He was a stocky man, 5ft 8in tall, with a 40in chest, weighing 160lbs, and had been working as a furnaceman at Messrs Wrights, Sedgley Road West. As a former soldier and a reservist, his training lasted only until 11th December 1914, when he joined the 1st Worcesters in France.

Action resulting in his death

The 1st Worcesters had over 120 men killed at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in early March 1915. The attack was aimed at capturing Aubers Ridge, but after early successes the attack ultimately failed and no lasting progress had been made. They remained in the same general area, and some two months later Aubers Ridge was again to be attacked and again the 1st Worcesters were to be involved.

The British artillery bombardment for the Battle of Aubers Ridge opened at 5.00am on 9th May 1915. It was inadequate in scale and inaccurate, a proportion falling on our own lines; the German machine guns continued unabated. The 1st Worcesters were in the second wave and not involved in the first stage of the attack. The initial attack took heavy casualties, was unable to penetrate the German lines, and stalled early in the morning. An attack by the 1st Worcesters was ordered for 1.30pm but a proportion of the opening bombardment again fell on our own lines causing heavy casualties. Lt. Col. Grogan countermanded the order to attack.

The Worcesters remained in the forward trench for the remainder of that day but no further attacks were made. As darkness fell, the remnants of the 24th Brigade were withdrawn with the exception of the 1st Worcesters who remained in the front line for another 24 hours (May 10th) under continuous shell-fire, repairing the defences and assisting the wounded.

The battalion had 1 Officer and 37 Other Ranks killed over the two days. According to a letter from Sgt. A.E. Saunders, Jones was killed by a shell at 3.00am on the 10th May, and is buried in the beautiful Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 22nd May 1915
Pte James Jones, aged 37, of the 1st Worcesters, who resided in Park Lane West, has been killed at the front. He was a Reservist, and went through the Boer War without a scratch, receiving two medals. Prior to going to the front, he was a furnaceman at Messrs Wrights, Sedgley Road West. He leaves a widow. The deceased soldier was a big and good-natured man, liked by all who knew him. A brother of the deceased - Pte. Tom Jones - is at present home on furlough from the west of England, owing to his mother's illness. He is in the 8th South Staffs, at Lulworth Camp, Dorset.
A sergeant at the front informed Mrs Jones of her husband's death in the following letter dated May 12th:-
"Dear Mrs Jones, It is with very deep regret that I have the unthankful job of informing you of your poor husband's death. He was killed in action at 3.00am on Monday May 10th. He was killed by a shrapnel shell, part of which struck him in the head. He suffered no pain, as it was an instantaneous death. You have no doubt read by now that our Division made an attack in which, I am sorry to say, we suffered a very heavy loss of life, your poor husband being struck on the second day. I carried him back behind the trench until the battle stopped for a short while, and ------ and myself buried him yesterday - May 11th - in the little cemetery a short distance behind the fighting line. We put a small cross up, but we are putting a much better one up later. I can assure you that his loss is very keenly felt by his comrades and myself. He had been with us since early in December, and we found in him a good and useful soldier, and we all condole with you in your very great and sad loss, and offer you our deepest sympathy. I expect you will be notified by the War Office later.
I am, yours sincerely, one of his comrades, Sergt A.E. Saunders