Profile

JONES, Percy Raymond
(Service number 17301)

Aliases Percival Raymond
First Rank Gunner Last Rank Driver

Birth

Date 20 January 1889 Place of Birth Timaru

Enlistment Information

Date 1 June 1916 Age 26 years
Address at Enlistment 139 Waltham Rd, Sydenham, Christchurch
Occupation Clerk (Customs)
Previous Military Experience E Battery Christchurch
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Francis JONES (father), 139 Waltham Road, Sydenham, Christchurch
Religion Church of England
Medical Information Height 5 feet 10½ inches. Weight 161 lbs. Chest measurement 35-39 inches. Complexion dark. Eyes brown. Hair dark. Sight normal - both eyes 6/6. Hearing and colour vision both normal. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicocele, varisoce veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. No fits. Fit.

Military Service

Served with New Zealand Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 17th Reinforcements New Zealand Feld Artillery
Date 23 September 1916
Transport Pakeha
Embarked From Wellington Destination Devonport, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With New Zealand Field Artillery

Military Awards

Campaigns
Service Medals British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date

Discharge

Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Death

Date 29 June 1917 Age 29 years
Place of Death Belgium
Cause Killed in action
Notices Star, 14 July 1917; Press, 14 July 1917
Memorial or Cemetery Motor Car Corner Cemetery, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium. Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch - memorial on parents' grave (damaged in earthquake, 2010).
Memorial Reference A. 19. Block 47C, Plots 47, 48
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Percy Raymond Jones, born on 20 January 1889 at Timaru, was the younger son of Welsh-born Francis (Frank) Jones and Louisa née Middleton, who hailed from Yorkshire, England. Frank and Louisa must have lived in Timaru for a relatively short time, having previously been in Christchurch and afterwards in Napier. Perhaps they joined Frank’s siblings in Timaru – brother Thomas and sister Charlotte (Mrs Chapman). Percy registered for service in Christchurch on 20 January 1916, one of forty men who registered on a day of brisk recruiting. He had previously registered with the Reserves and he had military experience with E Battery, Christchurch. Percy was called up in 1917, but he had already enlisted on 1 June 1916, at which time he was a shipping customs clerk. Standing at 5 feet 10½ inches tall and weighing 161lbs, he was in good health and fit for service. His nominated next-of-kin was his father, of 139 Waltham Road, Sydenham, Christchurch, where Percy also lived prior to the war.

A quota of 440 men for the 17th Reinforcements, comprising 425 in the infantry draft, 13 in artillery and 2 in signal service, was drafted in mid May 1916. Percy was selected for the artillery where there was a surplus of 15. The Christchurch and Timaru quotas went into camp on 1st June. This was the seventeenth time Christchurch city was to farewell drafts. Although the ceremony was by then well organised, there were still “mothers, fathers, sweethearts, ‘pals’ who talk so quickly, almost feverishly, to hide the ache that is there.” The men are the same in appearance as those who have gone before. Yet, “beneath the smile and jest can be detected an earnestness of purpose, a tenacity that will not only survive the months of strenuous endeavour of the training camp, the night watches, and oft-times hungers and thirst, but will increase to a doggedness of purpose that will send them over the hell swept parapet when the day of their trial comes.” On the evening of 31st May there had been a farewell in the King Edward Barracks. On departure day the Mayor, Mr H. Holland, remarked that some of them would serve under his son who held a commission in the artillery – probably Percy Jones. On behalf of the citizens he wished them good luck and God speed. Headed by the C.D.C. and C.Y.C. bands, the men marched to the special train at the station. Gunner Percy Raymond Jones embarked with the Field Artillery of the 17th Reinforcements on 23 September 1916 per the “Pakeha”, destined for Devonport, England.

After almost two months at Sling he proceeded overseas on 13 January 1917, and the following month he was posted to the Divisional Ammunition Column. The next news came on 13 July 1917 in Casualty List 620. It was initially reported that Driver P. R. Jones, of the Artillery, was missing but very soon amended to “Killed in Action”. Indeed, he had been killed in action on 29 June 1917 in Belgium, aged 28 years. He was buried in Motor Car Corner Cemetery, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium. Motor Car Corner marked the point beyond which cars were not allowed to proceed towards the front. The cemetery was begun in June 1917 at the outbreak of the Battle of Messines. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has his name recorded as Percival Raymond Jones. At Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, there is a memorial plaque on his parents' grave, the headstone being damaged in the 2010 earthquake and only the plaque in Percy’s honour surviving intact. Percy had played hockey in Christchurch. At the 1918 annual meeting of the Canterbury Hockey Association it was reported that the Addington Club had been forced to disband owing to members having left for the front. The committee paid a tribute to members who had sacrificed their lives in the nation’s cause. Among them were P. R. Jones and four fellow members of the Sydenham Club.

The British War Medal and Victory Medal were sent to his father in 1921/1922, as were the plaque and scroll. His older brother Francis named a son Francis Raymond Jones, Raymond appearing to be a traditional name in the Jones family. Arthur George Jones, a cousin of Percy, served in World War I, and another cousin, Frederick Wallace Jones, enlisted. In early August 1917 the Public Trust advertised for claims against the estate of Percival Raymond Jones, of Christchurch, “Shipping Clerk, but at his death a Soldier on Active Service in France”. Percy Jones had drawn up his will before leaving Christchurch in 1916 and appointed the Public Trustee sole executor and trustee. His instructions were very clear and precise - £25 to each of his sisters (Charlotte Jones of Christchurch and Louisa Judkins of Mossman, Sydney), to his brother Francis Jones of Christchurch, and to his friend Vera Barker of Christchurch. His mother and father were to be equal beneficiaries of his estate. The Public Trustee stated that the deceased was variably known as Percival Raymond Jones and Percy Raymond Jones, and that it was desired that Probate be issued in both such names. His parents, sisters and brother remembered their son and brother Percy –

“He died as he lived, noble and brave,

His life for freedom’s cause he gave.”

“We who loved him sadly miss him

As it dawns another year,

In the lonely hours of thinking

Thoughts of him are ever dear.”

Sources

Cenotaph Database [21 September 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ ref. AABK 18805 W5541 0061884) [04 July 2014]; CWGC [21 September 2013]; Press, 21 January 1916, 18 May 1916, 14 July 1917, 6 August 1917, 29 June 1918, 30 June 1919, 29 June 1920, 29 June 1921, Sun, 1 June 1916, 14 July 1917, North Otago Times, 14 July 1917, Otago Daily Times, 14 July 1917, Star, 14 July 1917, 30 March 1918, Timaru Herald, 14 July 1917 (Papers Past) [18 February 2014; 26 September 2017]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs); NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au); NZSG Cemetery Records headstone transcription - Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch (South Canterbury Branch NZSG microfiche collection) [March 2014]; Probate record (Archives NZ/FamilySearch) [03 October 2015]

External Links

Related Documents

Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

TS

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