Private 15562 Thomas Jones

Jones Thomas 15562 96 440x600

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 28th March 1917, age unknown.
Buried in Grave VII. B. 26. at Bucquoy Road Cemetery, Ficheux, Pas De Calais, France.

1st Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 91st Brigade of 7th Division.

Husband of Maria Jones, 4 Court, 1 House, Queen Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 14th July 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

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/178803/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
Court 6 House 6, Park Lane West, Tipton, Staffs.
Thomas Jones (22, Chainworks Labourer, born Tipton), his wife Maria (22, born Dudley), and their daughter Mary E. (9 months, born Tipton).

1911 Census
Court 4 House 1, Queen's Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Thomas Jones (29, Coal Miner, born Tipton), his wife Maria Edwards (32, born Dudley), and their 4 children: James Edwards (8, born Tipton), Mary Edwards (5, born Tipton), Annie Edwards (2, born Tipton) and Lily Edwards (1, born Tipton).
A further 3 children were born: Sarah born on 5th March 1912, Thomas born on 7th April 1913 and Edith Maria born 18th February 1914.

Personal Data

Family legend has it that both Thomas and Maria had married other people, but by 1901 were living together as man and wife. Although they never married, they had 7 children.

After Thomas's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £2/16/1d (2 pounds, 16 shillings and 1 penny); this was paid to his father, John, in July 1918. His War Gratuity was £10/10/0d (10 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his father in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Thomas had enlisted in approximately November 1914. It is noticeable that the outstanding pay and the War Gratuity were both paid to his father rather than to Maria - this was because they were unmarried and so his father was legally the next-of-kin. Let's hope that he passed this on to Maria and his grand-children.

Some credence can be given to the family legend that both Thomas and Maria had married other people, as on the Dependant's Pension Card (not Widow's Pension), Maria is recorded as Mrs Edith Maria Edwards. Her address at that stage was: 5 Court 4 House, Queen's Road, Tipton, all 7 children are recorded with the surname Jones. She was awarded a pension of £1/12/6d (1 pound, 12 shillings and 6 Pence) per week effective from 16th October 1917 - not a princely sum considering that there were 8 of them.

Some of Thomas's family, including his granddaughter Carol and his great grandson, visited Thomas's grave in Bucquoy Road Cemetery on 28th March 2017 - the centenary of Thomas's death. A very touching tribute to a man they never knew, but have not forgotten.

Action resulting in his death

The 1st South Staffs took up a front line position at St Leger on 27th March 1917, preparatory to an attack on Croisilles on the next day. During the course of that attack on the 28th March, 1 officer and 29 Other Ranks were killed in action, amongst them were three Tipton men, Jones, Davies and Glover.

Thomas Jones is buried in Bucquoy Road Cemetery at Ficheux, both Harry Davies and George Glover have no known grave and are commemorated on the Arras Memorial. Thomas was initially buried at a location midway between St Leger and Croisilles (at T.28.b.6.9) and he was exhumed and re-interred at Bucquoy Road Cemetery in November 1919. Found alongside Thomas was Corporal Bernard Timmins (Wednesbury) also of the 1st South Staffs, and an Unknown British Soldier. Thomas and Bernard were re-interred alongside each other in Bucquoy Road. As St Leger Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery is only 800 yards from where Thomas was exhumed, it must be assumed that St Leger was a 'closed' cemetery by November 1919. Bucquoy Road is 5 miles west of his initial burial location at St Leger.

Operations narrative:
At 0545 a creeping barrage opened. 'A' Company were in two waves on the left, 'D' in two waves on the right. 'B' and 'C' Companies in support.

'D' Company met heavy rifle and machine gun fire. In spite of this they advanced a considerable distance. A supporting half-Company ['C'] were also in the attack. A party under 2/Lt Curry got up to the wire at T.23.c. The enemy counter-attacked but were driven off. Curry retired slightly to the sunken road at T.23.d.

'A' Company advanced over the road between T.22.A.2.7 and T.23.A.2.7, and went a distance towards the road in T.12.A and C. They were met by heavy front and enfilade machine gun fire. There was a gap now open between 'A' and 'D' Companies. The situation after 0700 was very obscure, and they were probably counter-attacked. In any case, the enemy got into the gap and behind 'A' Company. All except the left-hand platoon became casualties or were taken prisoner.

At 1500, a half-Company of the Queens, and two machine guns were ordered forward to relieve the pressure on 'D' Company. The Queens reported that they could not get into position, and returned to Battalion HQ.

During the whole day, the various parties of 'C' and 'D' Companies came under very heavy shell fire, and suffered high casualties. At dusk, 'B' Company took over the front line, and the rest were withdrawn to the quarry at St Leger. The Battalion, less 'B' Company, were relieved at 2000.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Post 27th April 1917
The following casualties amongst warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men are reported under various dates:
SOUTH STAFFORDSHIRE REGIMENT.- Jones, 15562, T., (Tipton).