Jones, Alfred

Alfred Jones was the son of Robert and Eleanor (Elinor) Jones, of Llys Eirian, Marine Road, Prestatyn. He was the brother of Roger Arthur Jones, also on the Prestatyn Memorial, who has his own page on this website.

In the 1881 Census for Wales, available on Ancestry, we find the family living at Talbot Row, Prestatyn. Head of the family, Robert Jones, was 39, and had been born at Llanrhaidr, Denbighshire. He was described as a Stationmaster. His wife Elinor was 37, and had been born at Meliden, Flintshire. The children, Martha, who was 11, Edward age 10, and Robert, 9, had been born at Broughton Hall, Flintshire, while our soldiers Roger Arthur, age 7, and Alfred age 5, had been born at Nannerch, Flintshire.

By 1891, the family was living at Station House, Prestatyn. Robert was still a Stationmaster. There was no mention of daughter Martha, but the rest of the family  had been joined by Herbert N, age 8, and Morley H S, age 4, both born at Prestatyn since the last Census.

In 1901, they are living at Aber, Caernarvonshire, at Station House. Robert is described as Railway Station Master, age 58. Eleanor is 58, and her birthplace is given as Galltmelyd. The only family members at home are Alfred, now age 25, and a railway clerk, Herbert N, a pupil teacher, and Morley H S, at school. Everyone spoke both Welsh and English.

The 1911 Wales Census shows the parents living at Llys Eirian, Prestatyn. Robert is now a Pensioner, Retired Railway Officer, and also living there are the eldest son Edward, a railway clerk, and his wife Jane Ellin, and the youngest son Morley H M Stanley, a joiner. Robert and Eleanor had been married for 43 years, and Eleanor had given birth to 7 children, of whom 6 were living.

There is an entry for Alfred on the website “Liverpool Crew Lists” for the years 1907 and 1908. We can be sure it is him, although his was a common name, because of his birthplace, which was Nannerch, Flintshire. His address was 22, Church Street, Birkenhead, he was 29 years old, and the ship was the Oriana, registered at Liverpool. There is a note that he was promoted to “pantryman.”

Some time after this he emigrated to Canada, and records relating to him can be found on the website “Library and Archives of Canada, Personal Records of the First World War.” (ref RG 150, Accession. Item 336836.)

He was attested on 1st May, 1916, at Victoria, British Columbia, and enlisted for the duration of the War. His address at the time was given as Prince Rupert, and his date of birth as 16th January 1877, at Nannerch. His next of kin was his brother Edward Jones, of Llys Eirian, Prestatyn. His “trade or calling” was a cook, and he was not married.

His personal details were as follows. His age was 39 years and 3 months, his height was 5 feet 4 inches. His girth was 38 inches, with a 3 inch expansion. His complexion was dark, his hair was black, and his eyes were brown, he had no distinctive markings, and his religion was Methodist.

On 3rd May, he was passed as fit for service for the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force.

We learn from various editions of the Prestatyn Weekly that at least four of the Jones brothers were serving in the Army. In September 1915, Morley S. Jones, son of Mr and Mrs Robert Jones, “Gorsafydd”, journeyed from New South Wales to enlist in the Engineers, and in October 1917 it is reported that Lieutenant Newton Jones, Llys Eirian, was appointed intelligence officer at the Headquarters of his brigade in Palestine. He sent home a picture of the grave of one of the Prestatyn soldiers, which was printed in the paper.

Letters to the family show how important it was to those serving abroad to hear news from home.

Prestatyn Weekly December 2nd 1916;

Alfred Jones of the Canadian Contingent (son of Mr and Mrs Robert Jones, Llys Eirian,) writes that he came out of the trenches on November 15th, and with his comrades is now having a few days rest. “I hear you had a good meeting at the Synod .Mae y Testament Cymraeg gennyf bob amser yn y trenches. Diolch yn fawr am y rhodd. Yr wyf yn ei brisio yn fawr iawn.)

The Prestatyn Weekly for September 8th, 1917, under the heading “more losses” gives the following report:

Alfred Jones, son of Mr and Mrs Robert Jones, Llys Eirian, died of wounds on 16th August. He had spent most of his youth in our town, and had joined the Canadian Forces from British Columbia. A vote of condolence was passed with the bereaved parents at Bethel Chapel on Sunday last.

The next edition, September 22nd, carried picture of Alfred, and also his brother Roger Arthur, who had been killed ten months earlier. Writing to his parents only four days before his death, Alfred had stated:

We came out of the trenches early yesterday morning. I am pleased to say that I am in the very best of health and spirits, and never felt better in my life and often wonder how we can stand it all.

The article concludes by stating that “Gorsafydd and Mrs Jones sincerely from their hearts beg to thank their numerous friends for letters of kind and deep sympathy.”

“Gorsafydd” is a bardic name, a pseudonym used in Wales by poets and other artists, especially those involved in the Eisteddfod movement. There are instances in the local press of Mr Robert Jones, Gorsafydd, giving bardic addresses. His pseudonym is very appropriate for a long-standing Stationmaster, as “gorsaf” is the Welsh for “station.”

There is a card in the Roll of Honour in the Hawarden Archives, and also for his brother Roger Arthur, both signed on 19th September 1919, by their father, Robert Jones.

Alfred is also named on the Canadian Infantry (British Columbia Regiment) website, and also on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial – Veteran’s Affairs; where he is commemorated on page 265 of the First World War Book of Remembrance. This book is in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa.

The Peace Tower, also known as the Tower of Victory and Peace, is a bell and clock tower sitting on the central axis of the Canadian Parliament building in Ottawa. It is also a Canadian icon. The Peace Tower serves to function as a memorial to the 66,000 Canadians who gave their lives during WW1, and others who have died in later hostilities, and therefore it houses the Memorial Chamber.

Around an archway in the Peace Chamber, are engraved two famous lines by John Ceredigion Jones, the Welsh poet:

“All’s well, for over there among his peers,

A happy warrior sleeps”.

All the names of the Fallen are written in seven Books of Remembrance, which are displayed in open glass cases, on seven altars surrounding one central altar.

The floor of the Chamber is made from stone collected from the battlefields of Europe, including Ypres, Vimy and Verdun. Stained glass windows illustrate Canada’s war record, and the brass plates are made from spent shell casings from these battlefields.

The pages of these Books of Remembrance are turned at 11am each morning during a ceremony, so that every name is on display to visitors at least once during the year. They can also be viewed on – line.

The page showing the name of our soldier, Alfred Jones, will be on display on June 12th, every year.

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