Harry Jones

  • Private Harry Jones (Oxford Chronicle, 18 May 1917)

27910 Private (later Lance Corporal) Harry Jones enlisted with 2nd Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry 14 August 1914. The bulk of the Battalion was sent to Belgium within weeks and fought through ‘First Ypres' October-November 1914, which established an Allied defence line across Belgium centred on the town of Ypres which resisted German attack until the end of the war. In May 1915 at Festubert, Harry had stayed to accompany Thomas Harding as he died from a sniper's ‘snapshot'. Harry ended his service with OBLI, Service No 7653, in January 1916. He later enlisted with 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers, Regimental No. 40788. The Battalion arrived in France in March 1916, fought through the Somme offensive in which it took severe casualties. In the Arras offensive, April-May 1917, it fought in the Second of three Battles within weeks for the Scarpe River (23-24 April 1917). In the evening of 22 April, the Battalion moved into forward trenches east of Monchy-le-Preux village.

‘At 4.45 on the morning of the 23rd the Battalion went over the top and successfully captured the first line German trench. A and B Companies constructed strong points about 300 yards beyond the captured German positions. The covering barrage for the attack fell very short and caused a number of casualties to our own men. After the attack and during the consolidation, hostile sniping was very active'. (Battalion War Diary).

Harry Jones died of wounds on 24 April 1917 and was buried in the British Cemetery at Duisans, Etrun, west of Arras, Pas de Calais (ref. IV. A. 24). (Life resume, Oxford Times, 11 May 1917).

He was born in Wheatley in 1890, a son of Wheatley-born Francis George Jones, carpenter, and Angelina nee Messenger. They lived on Church Road in 1911. His brothers were Alfred, Frank and William Jones who also served, and returned. He was a labourer. In 1911 he was living with James and Harriett Shorter, his aunt and uncle, at Rock Cottage, Westfield Road. He had married a Miss Gillam of 21 Lillian Road, Barnes, London. See also reference to him in the Wheatley in a World at War chapter.

Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
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