Frederick Samuel Jones, my father's Uncle Fred and my paternal great-uncle, was born on the 27th May 1899 at Bartestree, Herefordshire, to Samuel Jones and is wife Emily (nee Taylor). He was their eldest son, and third out of eventually ten surviving children (including my grandmother).
|The 1911 census for Tidnor Cross|
In the 1911 census (courtesy of ancestry.co.uk), young Fred was living with the rest of the family in a cottage at Tidnor Cross, near Lugwardine. His father worked for the local landowner William Henry Barneby at Longworth Hall, having followed his employer from his former abode at Bredenbury.
I discovered that Fred served during the Great War after my second cousin Maureen, whose help has been invaluable and has carried out extensive research on this branch of the family, emailed me a copy of a fine photo of him in military uniform, flanked by his proud parents.
|Frederick in uniform, flanked by his mother Emily and Father Samuel|
Unfortunately this photo does not give any clues as to which regiment(s) Frederick served in, although the way his puttees are wrapped suggests an infantry (or at least non-mounted) role. Searching the various military records available online is difficult, considering the amount of Frederick Joneses that are listed!
However one more clue was gleaned after a member of the Great War Forum pointed me to a document on the National Archives of Australia website, which has a copy of his Assisted Passage application form from the 1960's (more of which later).
|Fred's career as listed in his Assisted Passage application|
I am also grateful to Maureen for giving me access to some letters written to her from Frederick's sons. These documents, while only confusing his possible military service, do give us an interesting glimpse into is life. Frederick states on his Assisted Passage document that between 1913 (presumably after leaving school) and 1917 he worked as a stable boy for a Lady King-King.
Sometime in 1917 he was called up for the Armed Forces, where, according to the Assisted Passage form, he was a trooper. A trooper is of course a cavalryman, so unless he was mistaken when filling in the form, he could have served in some sort of mounted role - possibly in a cavalry regiment - which admittedly is at odds with the infantry style uniform he is wearing in the photo.
|Fred in the Spring 1919 Absent Voters List|
In the Spring and Autumn lists of the 1919 Absent Voters List, Fred is listed as a private in the 2/4th Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, service number 40266. In theory this should make researching his service history a lot easier, but in fact it muddies the waters somewhat!
There is indeed a medal card for a Pvt 40266 FS Jones, but the regiment (the Wiltshires) is different. This particular soldier is listed on the medal roll as serving first with the Welsh regiment (confusingly being given a service number originally issued earlier to another soldier!) Thanks to the knowledgeable folk at the Great War Forum, it is likely that this person mobilised in 1917 before being transferred to the 24th Battalion Welsh Regiment around June 1918, then on to the 6th Battalion Wiltshire Regiment around July 1918. He was then transferred to the Gloucestershire Regiment.
|Medal card of FS Jones|
There is a surviving service record of another man who followed a similar path with similar service numbers. It states that he was posted to the 35th Training Reserve Battalion, part of 8th Brigade TR which had absorbed the 9th Bn Ox and Bucks, among others. So there is a tenuous link with the Ox & Bucks reference on the AVL, but I cannot yet prove that my Great-Uncle Fred is the same man as FS Jones on the medal card.
According to his sons' letters, Frederick supposedly served as a groom to an officer and was at some stage hospitalised with shell-shock - although one letter also states that he served in the Second World War, not the First, which the Assisted Passage form proves incorrect, so we cannot be sure of these facts.
|Fred, presumably as a chauffeur|
The Absent Voters List states that he was demobilised on 25/11/1919. His son's letter states that he bought two pigs upon his return home. These pigs, "the best pictures hanging in the cottage" according to Fred's father Samuel, provided the family with plenty of food! He obtained employment as a chauffeur for a person listed as 'Bathgate' on the Assisted Passage form. This is probably James Bathgate, coal merchant, who is listed living near to Fred in the 1939 register.
His son's letters state that he courted his future wife, Olive Irene Jones, by driving her around Ledbury in his horse and cart. They married in her native Marden in 1923.
At some point Frederick and Olive moved to Acton Bridge, Cheshire, and had three sons, born in 1925, 1929 and 1935. According to the assisted passage form,he remained under the employ of Mr. Bathgate until 1937 (although the 1939 register still has him listed as a chauffeur). Later he got a job as a 'Watchman-Tester' for ICI at their Brunner Mond chemical works, Winnington, Northwhich.
By 1960 his sons had all emigrated to Australia, and in late 1963 their parents applied under the Assisted Passage scheme to join them. On the 26th June 1964 they had left their home at Cliff Cottages, Acton Bridge, and set sail on the MS Fairsea for Australia.
According to one of the letters, Fred and Olive initially lived with one of his sons in Canberra, but soon moved into 'an old people's flat' (address 4a Hazel Street, Oaks Estate according to his newspaper obituary). Frederick passed away on the 21st October 1967, Olive joining him in 1971. One of the letters states that they were both cremated and were commemorated on plaques in Canberra 'at the Memorial Building'.
|Fred and Olive, with Emily, c.1950's|
Until any new information (medals, service numbers etc.) comes to light, this is all I can ascertain and his military service must remain a mystery.