James Jones was born in Rhuddlan, Flintshire in 1892.
The 1901 Census shows that the family lived at 12 Brickfield Terrace, Rhyl, Flintshire. The head of the family was Thomas Jones aged 39, who was employed as a General Labourer. His wife Mary Jones aged 36 and their six children – Thomas J Jones aged 15, a General Labourer, William E Jones aged 12, James Jones aged 9, Richard Jones aged 7, Susannah Jones aged 3 and Joseph Jones aged 1 year.
Following the outbreak of the First World War, James enlisted with 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
The events of the day on which James Jones died are as follows:-
The unit mustered 25 Officers and 806 men in the trenches that morning. Following a half-hour bombardment the unit attacked just after it ended at 3.16am, going over the top in successive order of 4 companies, 2 waves of men per company. Their aim (within the larger battle) was to take 2 lines of enemy trenches then hold a defensive position. It met heavy shell and machine-gun fire even as it left the trenches and tried to cross No Mans Land. They got beyond the two enemy lines but came under fire from their left, and part of the Battalion (A & part of B companies) was mixed up with the 2nd Scots Guards on that flank. The rear two companies (C & D) also suffered badly in crossing to the German lines. As some men pressed on further they were hit by ‘friendly’ shellfire and halted.
By 1pm contact was made with the Royal Warwicks Regiment on the right and the Queen’s Regiment came up in support. The Battalion found itself holding an exposed position facing an orchard, open to enemy sniping from front and rear. At 2pm the enemy began shelling the trench they were in, which offered little cover. Reinforcements from the 7thLondon Regiment came up and attacked the orchard covered by fire from the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, but had to fall back under machine-gun fire. He shelling meantime wrecked the trench and cut the Royal Welsh Fusiliers off from other units. Darkness was approaching as the Royal Welsh Fusiliers fell back to a line being held just in front of the former Second German Line, then were ordered to withdraw to trenches being held by The Queen’s, which they accomplished successfully.
The Royal Welsh Fusiliers claimed to have penetrated the enemy defences to a depth of 1200 yards. For this they paid a heavy price: Officers – 6 killed, 2 died of wounds, 9 wounded, 1 wounded and missing, 1 missing. Total 19 out of 25. Other Ranks – 118 killed, 271 wounded, 164 missing (many of whom would prove to be dead), 6 wounded and missing. Total 559 out of 806. Some 110 bodies were retrieved and buried in the old No Mans Land on 18 May, in addition to various officers brought in the previous evening.
Flintshire Observer Thursday 10 June 1915 – Rhyl’s Sacrifice – Rhyl Soldiers have of late figured very prominently in the casualty lists, about a dozen having been reported killed and many wounded. Last week the War Office notified the relatives of the death of Lance Corporal William Jennings, Private Albert Williams and Private James Jones, all of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, who were killed in action about the middle of last month. It has also been reported that Corporal Jasper Pope of the 15th Hussars, who had been in the war from the beginning and Rifleman W. H. Evans, 5th Kings Liverpool Regiment had been seriously wounded.
James Jones is also remembered on a Remembrance Plaque at The Royal Alexandra Hospital, Marine Drive, Rhyl, Flintshire and on The North Wales Heroes Memorial Arch, Deiniol Road, Bangor, North Wales.
There is a Flintshire Roll of Honour Card for him at the County Archives Office, Hawarden, Flintshire, which was completed on 18 September 1919 by a H Jones.