Lest We Forget -William Henry Jones

Yet another Great Uncle who was killed during World War 1. William was my maternal Grandfathers brother. Here is his story.anzac_day_poppies

William Henry Jones was the eldest of 6 children. He was born on 24 April 1879 and was baptized at St.Michael’s, Coventry on 16 May that year. His parents were William Jones and Sarah Ann Jones nee Davis. His father was a Watchmaker and they lived in Much Park Street. William would live in Much Park Street for all of his childhood years, for it is here I found him on the 1891 and 1901 census.

On the 1901 census William is listed as being a Cycle Fork Builder. It is during this year on 26 May at Christ Church in Coventry that he marries Annie Cook. By the 1911 census the couple, living in Whitefriars Street, have had three sons, William, Lenard and Percy. Before the outbreak of war William was working as a Mechanic at the Humber Works.

William was a member of the 1/7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. This was a peace time Territorial Force and were on summer camp when they were recalled to their home base on the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914. As a Territorial Force they were not obliged to serve overseas. However the Battalion was mobilised on 5 August as part of the Warwickshire Brigade, South Midland Division and William, along with most of the men in  the Brigade, volunteered for Imperial Service. After many months of training in England in March 1915 the men of the now named 48th (South Midland) Division were told to expect overseas service. Later that month William along with the other soldiers in the Division were on their way from Southampton to Le Havre landing there on 22 March 1915. By 3 April 1915 they were concentrated near the town of Cassel, France.

Over the following year William would have been involved in the fighting in the trenches. It was on the 24 June 1916 that the allies started a week long artillery bombardment of German defensive positions in preparation for what was to become the Battle of the Somme which started on 1 July. It was on this day that William was killed in action by shell fire when leaving the trenches for rest. He is buried in Hebuterne Military Cemetery, Plot 2 Row C Grave 9.

hebuterne-military-cemetery
Hebuterne Military Cemetery, France

In his will, which appears to have been written while fighting in France, he left all of his belongings to his wife Annie Jones.

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Photo of Hebuterne Military Cemetery from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission www.cwgc.org

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