On the WW2 Hawarden War Memorial, among the names was David E. JONES, and try as I might I could not find him, below is my journey to find him, and I do believe that the story of David E. Jones is also the story of David Henry Bray-Jones:-
I am thinking that the name on the War Memorial may have been given wrongly, as the father of the soldier below was named David E. JONES, but the soldier – David Henry Bray JONES* fits all the criteria on the newspaper article below, except his full name. Was his father’s name put on erroneously? Did his father David E. JONES, put his son’s name forward but then David E. JONES was the name added wrongly? In any case, he should be remembered and as St. Bartholemew’s Church, Sealand was in the Parish of Hawarden, he should have been included.
*Born 22nd March 1916, according to the Royal Welch Fusiliers Enlistment Registers, 1920-1936
CHESTER CHRONICLE 24TH JUNE 1944 – Buckley, Queensferry. Page 6 Col. 6.
KILLED IN ACTION – Mrs. JONES, 24, Belmont Crescent, has been informed that her husband, Lance/Corporal David JONES, was killed in action in the Burma fighting on May 4th. L/Corpl. JONES was 28 and the son of Mr. & Mrs. JONES, 1, North Green, Queensferry. He had been in the Army over ten years, and had served in India and Burma.
ACCORDING TO THE NEWSPAPER REPORT ABOVE, HE DIED ON THE RIGHT DAY (4TH MAY 1944), BUT THE INITIALS ARE WRONG.
There were only 6 casualties named JONES who died on the 4th May 1944 on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Database, David Bray JONES being the only one that fits the criteria re the location of his residence.
I hope that you will bear with me as I am starting his story from 1881, as I have to prove his name.
David Henry Bray-Jones grandparents William & Mary Ann Bray had appeared on the 1881 census living at the 1, Queen Street, Aberdare, Glamorganshire, both with the surname Bray, but unmarried, which I am putting down to the Enumerator’s clerical error, but I cannot find their marriage.
William Bray, on the 1891 census was living at Tany Graig Terrace, Mardy, Aberdare, Glamorganshire with his wife Mary Ann, nee Jones. William Bray, 36, was a Coal Miner born in Hafod, Glamorganshire, his wife Mary Ann, 30, had been born in Aberdare. Living with them was William’s Mother-in-Law Sophia Jones, a widow, 63, and born in Llanbadarnfawr, Cardigan, also his Sister-in-Law, also Sophia J. Jones, 21 and single also born in Aberdare. Living there also was William’s Step-son David E. Jones, born Aberdare, all spoke only Welsh. There were three Boarders there as well. So David Edmund was a Jones on this census. I enquired at the Superintendent Registrar’s Office at Rhondda Cynon Taf and they tell me that the name Bray was not on his birth Certificate, (Merthyr T. Vol. 11a Page 627) which would have to be purchased to confirm or deny.
The 1901 census shows the family living at Danygraig Terrace. Mardy, Aberdare, Glamorganshire (I suspect another clerical error, probably the same house.) William Bray, now, 46 was a Colliery Labourer below Ground, born Havod, Glamorgan and Bilingual. Mary Ann Bray was 39 and spoke only Welsh, as did the rest of the family. David Edmund Bray was 11, his sister Catherine Jane Bray was 7 and both had been born in Mardy, Glamorganshire. This is where the Bray surname comes in for David Edmund.
The 1911 census shows them living at 82, Mardy Road, , Mardy, Rhondda, Glamorganshire. (3 rooms). David Edmund Bray is now 21 years old and single, his sister Catherine Jane is 17. William & Mary have been married 26 years and they tell us that they only had 2 children. There are 2 Boarders living there as well as a young boy Robert Morgan, 11, Nephew was crossed out on the census by the Enumerator.
On the 27th of November 1911, David Edmund Bray Jones enlisted into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, David Edmund’s war service was in WW1 with the Royal Welch Fusiliers using the name Bray – see footnote about his WW1 service
David Edmund Bray was to meet Annie Britton and marry her in the December quarter of 1913 using both the Jones name and separately the Bray name, (Pontypridd Vol. 11a Page 1269), again, as above the certificate would have to be purchased.
David Henry Jones was born in the June Quarter of 1916, and was registered without the Bray surname in Pontypridd,(Mother’s maiden name Britton)( Pontypridd Vol. 11a Page 1317).
Robert Arthur Bray Jones was born in the December quarter of 1921,(Mother’ maiden name Britton)( Pontypridd Vol. 11a Page 1445), and in his case registered with the name of Jones and separately with the name Bray-Jones.
On the 29th September 1939 the National Register was taken and David and Annie Bray are seen living at 1 North Green , Welsh Land Settlement , Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales, (Schedule 72). This gives us their birth dates, David Edmund’s was the 6th April 1899 and he was a Market Gardener. Annie’s was the 6th August 1895, this was corrected in pencil to 6th April 1894, she was a Land Worker . Also in the same house, but on a different Schedule number (73) was Megan M. Bray-Jones, born the 3rd September 1920 and married, doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties,” which is how most married women on this Register are described if they did not have a job.
I believe that Megan M. Bray-Jones (nee Roberts) was the wife of Robert Arthur Bray.Jones who married in a Civil Ceremony in Hawarden, in the June quarter of 1939. (Hawarden Vol. 11b Page 499).
David Henry Jones was to meet and marry Esther Garner in St. Bartholemew’s Church Parish Sealand on the 11th May 1940. – David Henry Bray JONES, 24, Bachelor, Soldier, 1, North Green, Queensferry, father David Edmund Bray JONES, Landworker & Esther GARNER, 20, Spinster, Domestic Servant, 1, North Green, Queensferry, father John Henry GARNER, Window Cleaner. (After Banns). Witnesses:- David Edmund Bray JONES & John Henry GARNER.
A daughter Glenda Rosemary was baptised at St. Bartholemew’s Church Sealand on the 29th June 1941 – Glenda Rosemary d/o David Henry & Esther BRAY-JONES, 1, North Green, Sealand, Soldier.
David Henry (Bray) Jones enlisted into the R.W.F on the 28TH December 1934, according to the R.W.F. Enlistment Register, this source also gives his date of birth as the 22nd March 1916, this also tells us that he was Killed in Action on the 4th May 1944.
Extract from CWGC Citation:- In December 1941, Japanese forces invaded Burma, catapulting the nation into the Second World War. By March 1942, the Japanese had captured the capital city of Rangoon and their occupation of the country began.
Taken from THE HISTORY OF THE ROYAL WELSH http://royalwelsh.org.uk/regiment/history-regiment-timeline.htm
The 2nd Battalion returned from India in July 1940 and two years later took part in the capture of Madagascar from the Vichy French. In early 1943 it returned to India, thus joining the 1st Battalion which had arrived in the previous year. The latter first saw action against the Japanese at Donbaik in Burma in March 1943. In a battle which, according to General Slim, should never have been fought, he said that “….The last and final assault…. was led by the Royal Welch Fusiliers and on that day they showed valour which I think has rarely been surpassed….”. The Battalion casualties amounted to thirteen officers and 149 other ranks. It returned to India and in April and May 1944 it fought in the bloody battle for the relief of Kohima, in Assam. It went on to Burma where it was engaged until the end of the war.
The 2nd Battalion operated in North Arakan during the first half of 1944 and then went to northern Burma where it was engaged in clearing the ‘Railway Corridor’.
Casualty List (Page 2) gives the names of 16 R.W.F. men who were Killed in Action, 12 of whom died on the 4th May 1944, including David Henry’s name, the others on the 5th May 1944.
His body was never found as he is remembered on the Rangoon Memorial.
Esther Bray Jones was to remarry at St. Bartholemew’s Church, Sealand – on the 27th April 1946 to Elvet Lewis ROBERTS*, 35, Bachelor. Engineer, 2, South Green, Sealand Manor, Queensferry, father David ROBERTS (Dec.), Farmer & Esther Bray JONES, 26, Widow, 1, North Green, Sealand Manor, Queensferry, father John Henry GARNER, Widow Cleaner. (By Licence). Witnesses:- Robert Arthur BRAY-JONES & Megan M. BRAY-JONES**
*Elvet was living at 2 Welsh Land Settlement South Green, Hawarden R.D., Flintshire on the 1939 National Register.
**David Henry’s brother and sister-in-law.
Their daughter Gloria Christine was born on the 29th December 1946 and Baptised on the 16th February 1947, d/o Elvet Lewis & Esther ROBERTS, 2, South Green, W.L.S., Labourer.
I found Esther on the Electoral Rolls. 1945 (Taken probably in 1944) Polling District E. – Ewloe Wood Ward (Parish of Buckley) – Page 5 No 714 Ewloe Place Esther BRAY-JONES 5. Which was before she married Elvet in 1946, which solves the place of residence on the newspaper cutting above.
The Welsh Land Settlement paid a heavy price in WW2 as 4 young lives were sacrificed, including David Henry Bray Jones, the others were William Raymond Hodges – lived at 15 East Green (dob 21/8/1921) he was a Labourer Public Works Contractor son of Ivor and Minnie Hodges (lived next door to my Auntie Elfie and Uncle Jack). Thomas Albert Kennedy – lived at 17 North Green (eldest brother of Auntie Elfie) I have him in my family tree as dying at Oban, Scotland 27 Dec 1940 and Edwin Victor R Preece – lived at 1 West Green (dob 9/9/1923) a Horticultural Worker and son of David and Florence M Preece with an older son Frederick D G a GPO Sorting Clerk. Thanks to Roland Ward for this information Photograph courtesy of the https://wlssealand.wordpress.com/category/sealand/ website. Please click on their names to read their stories.
Many thanks to Roland Ward and Jennifer Watson for their input and also Peter Kelsall, we all tried to fathom David E. Jones’s name on the Hawarden WW2 War Memorial. Please contact the website if you have any information on who the other David E. Jones is, if he isn’t David Henry Bray Jones as I have described above.
David Henry’s father, David Edmund Bray Jones enlisted 27th November 1911 as previously said, probably as a Territorial as he was mobilized on the 5th August 1914, he was Private, Regtl. No. 368200, and he was quite a character looking at his Conduct Sheet, but served throughout the war, ending up in the Labour Corps when he was demobbed in 1920, suffering, with Annie, the loss of their son William Edmund Bray Jones age 6 months, from Meningitis (he suffered 7 days) on the 29th March 1915, their address then was 49, Pentre Road, Mardy. Also David Edmund’s Regtl. No. then was 4344 and he had been a Coal Hewer. William Bray, Grandfather of 82, Mardy Road, Mardy, Rhondda registered his death. He was declared a deserter on the 15th September 1915. He obviously gave himself up or was captured as he was demobbed on the 31st March 1920 after serving 8 years 249 days, 4 years 42 days as a Reservist.