CWG: Stoker 1st Class Henry Jones

Stoker 1st Class Henry Jones

Owen Henry Jones was born in Islington, Middlesex, on 23rd October 1888. His father was tailor Edward Jones, but little additional information about Owen’s early life remains.

By the end of 1913, he was working as a packing case maker and living in Shoreditch. He had met Ada Elizabeth Cornelius, the daughter of a dock labourer, and the couple married on Christmas Day at St Peter’s Church in Hoxton Square.

Within a year, war had engulfed Europe and, on 1st June 1915, Owen enlisted in the Royal Navy. His service records show that he had swapped his names round, and was going by Henry Owen Jones. He was 5ft 9ins (1.75m) tall, had light brown hair, brown eyes and a fresh complexion.

Stoker 2nd Class Jones was initially sent to HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent, for his training, but, within a couple of months, was assigned to the monitor vessel HMS Lord Clive. He served on board for just over a year, gaining a promotion to Stoker 1st Class in the process.

After six months back in Chatham, Henry was given his second posting, on board another monitor ship, HMS General Wolfe. After just three months, however, he found himself back on shore at HMS Pembroke.

The Dockyard was particularly busy that summer, and the large number of extra servicemen meant that Henry was billeted in temporary accommodation in Chatham Drill Hall.

On the 3rd September 1917, the first night air raid carried out by the German Air Force bombarded the town, and scored a direct hit on the Drill Hall; Stoker 1st Class Jones was among those killed instantly. He was just 28 years of age.

Henry Owen Jones was laid to rest, along with the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham. Tragically he was buried as ‘unidentified’: the records state that he lies “in one of the following graves: 516, 522, 735, 935, 937, 948, 642.”

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