Private 8586 Thomas Jones

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Death plaque and Medals for Thomas Jones
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Killed in Action on Sunday, 9th May 1915, age 22.
Commemorated on Panel 5 of Ploegsteert Memorial, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium.

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

Son of Thomas and Lizzie Jones, of 156, Bloomfield Rd., Bloomfield, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 5th November 1914.
Medal entitlement: 1914 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/871989/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
39a Coppice Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Thomas Jones (37, Labourer in Pig Iron Foundry, born Tipton), his wife Lizzie (32, born Tipton), and their 6 children: Levi (12, born Tipton), Mabel (10, born Tipton), Thomas (8, born Tipton), Annie (6, born Tipton), Eva (3, born Tipton) and George (18 months, born Tipton).

1911 Census
23 Coppice Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Thomas Jones (47, Furnaces Labourer, born Tipton), his wife Lizzie (41, born Tipton), and their 10 surviving children of 14: Levi (22, Labourer, born Tipton), Mabel (19, born Tipton), Thomas (17, Baker, born Tipton), Annie (16, Domestic Servant, born Tipton), Eva (12, born Tipton), George (11, born Tipton), Bertie (8, born Tipton), Florrie (4, born Tipton), Ambrose (1, born Tipton) and Lily (6 months, born Tipton).

Personal Data

Thomas's brother, George Jones, was killed in action on 15th April 1918, whilst serving with the 9th Norfolks.

Thomas enlisted with the Special Reserves of the Worcestershire Regiment on 19th February 1912 in Dudley. Special Reservists had 6-months full time training with the army, and then an annual training commitment.

On enlistment, Thomas was 18 years and 10 months old, 5 feet 3⅜ inches tall, weighed 105 pounds, and had a 34½-inch chest. He had brown eyes and brown hair, he was considered 5 pounds underweight but that he would develop. His occupation was stated as Baker, and religion as Church of England.

On 8th August 1914, Thomas was mobilised and spent 2 months training at Fort Tregantle, Cornwall. On the 14th October he was posted to the 1st Worcesters, and on 5th November arrived in France with his unit.

Thomas had 2 spells receiving medical attention. On 13th December 1915 he was treated at 25 Field Ambulance for an abscess. This required further treatment at the 6th Clearing Hospital and at the 11th General Hospital in Boulogne, before time at the 8th Infantry Base Depot at Rouen, and then re-joining his unit.

At some time between the 10th and 13th March 1915, Thomas was wounded at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. He arrived at the 8th General Hospital in Rouen with a Gun Shot Wound in his left arm. 2 weeks later, on the 27th March, he transferred to a Convalescent Camp, and on the 14th April again to the 8th Infantry Base Depot at Rouen before re-joining his unit.

On 9th May 1915, Thomas was listed as Missing during the Battle of Aubers Ridge, the precise location was recorded as Rue Petillion. Thomas’s body was never identified, and he is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.

Various addresses were recorded on his Service Papers – in 1915 at 10 Park Lane Passage, his parents in 1919 were recorded at 37 New Cross Street, and in 1920 at 156 Bloomfield Road, all in Tipton.

After Thomas's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £6/17/4d (6 pounds, 17 shillings and 4 pence); this was paid to his father, Thomas, in November 1915. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in August 1919. This indicates a period of service of 12 months or less, which we know to be correct as Thomas was mobilised in August 1914.

Action resulting in his death

The 1st Worcesters had lost heavily in early March 1915 at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle (9 Officers and 92 Other Ranks with 37 missing according to Stacke). The attack was aimed at capturing Aubers Ridge, but after early successes the attack ultimately failed and no lasting progress had been made.

Some two months later Aubers Ridge was again to be attacked and again the 1st Worcesters were to be involved. The opening British artillery bombardment at 5.00am on May 9th immediately showed that the bombardment was too inaccurate and inadequate in scale. A proportion of the bombardment fell on our own lines, and the German machine gunners showed that they had not been suppressed by the bombardment. The first two lines of the British attack were in diasarray having taken heavy casualties, and the Worcesters were not able to get through the trenches to launch their own attack.

During the morning, the Germans continued to pour artillery into the British forward trenches, where the troops were unable to either attack or retreat due to the control of the German machine gunners. Colonel Grogan of the 1st Worcesters received orders at 12.50pm that the Worcesters were to attack at 1.30 pm. The supporting artillery bombardment commenced at 1.00pm, but again a proportion of shells fell on our own lines causing heavy casualties. This, together with the German bombardment and machine gun dominance lead Colonel Grogan to countermand the 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, abouring to repair the defences and assist the wounded. The battalion had 1 Officer and 31 Other Ranks killed, and 8 reported missing according to Stacke.

This was the day that Thomas Jones was killed in action, it is not known of this was due to British artillery, German artillery or German machine gun fire. He has no known grave, but is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings