William Henry Jones was born on 11th March 1888, the son of William John Jones and Annie Jones [née Lewis] of New Street, Wellington, Shropshire. William’s father was a fish and game merchant.
William was educated at Wellington College1 between the years 1901-07.
The college archives reflect a period of service with The Monmouthshire Regiment, part of the Territorial Force, attaining the rank of Lance-Sergeant, with loss of life circa 1916.
The Monmouthshire Regiment fielded ten Battalions, of which only three saw front line service; 1/1st, 1/2nd & 1/3rd.
It is conceivable that whilst William initially joined The Monmouth’s, at some stage during the war he must have changed Regiments which was not uncommon. This would either be voluntarily or by compulsion; e.g. due to manpower shortages, much needed experience by an individual, etc.
Records held by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission [CWGC] reflect the fact that forty-nine individuals named William Henry Jones perished in the war and of those only two served with the Monmouthshire Regiment at the time of their death. Both were private soldiers whose home towns and parentage do not match those of this Old Wrekinian. Of the remaining forty-seven, a further twenty-nine have been discounted due to age at death, &/or parentage etc. This leaves eighteen possibilities but there is insufficient evidence available in order for a positive identification to be made at this time.
The possibility also exists that on joining the army he enlisted under the name of Henry William Jones, again a not uncommon practice; depending on the date of his enlistment he may have been one of several soldiers in the Regiment to bear the same set of names. Alternatively he may have been known as Henry within the family and chose that name on enlistment. The war memorial in Wellington, Shropshire lists the name of a Henry William Jones who served with the 18th Battalion, The Welsh Regiment who was killed on 1st July 1917 in France; is he really William Henry Jones, son of William and Annie?
Despite an extensive search of CWGC records, and the old War Office files, it has not proved possible to positively identify William and therefore the accuracy of his regimental service. His place of death and subsequent burial remain unknown at present.
Any information that would assist in the correct identification, or indeed knowledge of, William Henry Jones would be much appreciated by the author. Please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
William would have qualified for both the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. In addition, if he entered a theatre of war between 5th August 1914 and 22nd November 1914 he would have qualified for The 1914 Star. The 1914-15 Star was for those personnel who entered a theatre of war prior to 31st December 1915 and who did not qualify for the former medal.
The Monmouthshire Regiment was disbanded at the end of the First World War.