John Jones was born in 1894, the son of Peter and Sarah Elizabeth Jones. The census of 1901 records him living with his family in The Square, (Gwespyr), Llanasa. Head of the household was Peter Jones a 40 year old Quarry Labourer. His wife was Sarah Elizabeth Jones aged 40. Their listed children were Thomas 12, John 6, Mary A 4 and William Arthur who was 1. The census says they had all been born in Gwespyr.
The next census of 1911 records the family living at 7 Jones Terrace, Rhewl Fawr, Ffynongroew. Sarah Elizabeth Jones was a 51 year old widow and Head of the Household. We can see from the form that she had been married for 29 years and had given birth to 8 children, all of whom survived. Listed in the household were Thomas 22 a loader below ground, Samuel Edward 19, a Pony Driver below ground, Mary Ann was 14, William Arthur 11 and Peter was 7. John Jones who would have been about 16 was not included. Where was he?
In 1911, John Jones was listed as a lodger in the home of a family that originated from the Gwespyr/Gronant area. The address was 41 Joseph Street, Sutton, St Helens, Lancashire. The head of the household was William Williams 29, a Collier who had been born in Gronant. His wife of 7 years, Susannah was 27 and she hailed from Gwespyr. She had given birth to 2 girls, Cissie who was 5 and Annie 2. John Jones was listed as a 17 year old lodger who had been born in Gwespyr and who worked underground as a ‘Drawer’.
John Jones’s Army service Records have survived and are accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk They tell us that he enlisted and signed his Attestation Papers in Ashton in Makerfield, Lancashire on the 11th May 1915. He gave his family home as his address – 7 Jones Terrace, Penyffordd, Flintshire. He was 22 years and 9 months of age. His occupation was Collier.
His Medical History Form tells us he was 5 feet 9 and a half inches tall, weighed 140lbs, had a chest measurement of 37 and a half inches with an expansion range of 3 inches. His physical development was deemed to be fairly good and his vision was good. He was approved as being fit for service by the Medical Officer. He named his mother Sarah Elizabeth Jones as his next of kin. Having been accepted he was transferred immediately as Private 24116, to the 16th Bttn Royal Welsh Fusliers – The Welsh Army. He joined the regiment the next day in Llandudno.
The Records show that he served ‘at home’ (within the UK) from the 11th May 1915 to the 1st of December 1915. He joined the British Expeditionary Force on the 2nd December 1915. His Medal Index card, on Ancestry, says that he entered his first Theatre of War on the 3rd December 1915 in France. The card says that ‘Death accepted’ on the 10th July 1916. It lists his three medals.
The Register of Soldiers’ effects, in which the army calculated what monies were owed to deceased soldiers includes an entry for John Jones. It says that he died ‘on or since the 10th July 1916. Presumed dead’. A total of £9 .. 15sh .. 1d was paid to his mother Sarah Elizabeth Jones – in two separate payments.
The Service Records includes some correspondence between the Army and John’s mother. These concerned arrangements for John’s personal possessions and receipts for his medals.
There is an index card for John Jones, filed with the Ffynongroyw Cards in the Flintshire Roll of Honour in The County Record Office in Hawarden, (Ffynnongreow F12) It gives the address 7, Jones Terrace, Penyffordd, Ffynnongroew. His regimental number was quoted as 24116 of the 16th Royal Welsh Fusiliers. It says he was a Corporal. It says he was Missing – reported killed on the 10th July 1916. The card was not signed or dated. (As far as we know, he was never a corporal)
What isn’t clear from the records is exactly where John died. We. however, know what was happening to the 16th Bttn of the 38th Division of The Welsh Army on those days in July 1916. John Jones was one of the many that died in the infamous Battle for Mametz Wood.
He has no known grave but is remembered on the memorial at Thiepval.
John Jones is listed on a memorial scroll inside Ffyongroyw Church. He is not listed on the main memorial stone in Ffynongroyw. He is named on the Picton memorial. We also believe that this might be him on a memorial in Ashton in Makerfield.
NB. John’s brother Samuel Edward was in the 16th Bn R.W.F. like his brother, but sadly he was wounded terribly and had his arm amputated, re-amputated the next day. I have copies of his Attestation papers and medical history, if anyone wants them, I can send them if they contact the website. (Mavis)