Fred Jones Private 20248 -1st Bn. West Yorkshire Regiment Killed in action on Thursday 12th October 1916, age 21 No known grave but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France Fred Jones was born in Gnosall in 1894, son of John Jones, a labourer from Welshpool, about 37, and Ann nee Rogers of Cowley, born 1861. The family lived at Doley Gate and Fred was baptised on 17 June 1900 at Gnosall along with his brother Charles David and his sister Florence Lydia. The 1901 and 1911 censuses show the family living at Doley Gate. Fred had four older brothers and a younger one (Charles) plus one older sister. In 1901 John was working as a bricklayer labourer. In 1911 John is a coal agent, with Fred a “labourer on farm”. Two of Fred’s brothers, two sisters, two cousins, and two nephews were also living there. Fred enlisted in Lichfield, as Private 30367 in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, and was later transferred into the 1st Battalion of West Yorkshire Regiment as Pte. 20248. Aged 21, he was killed in action on the Somme on Thursday 12th October 1916 and was awarded the Victory and British medals. He has no known grave but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France, Pier and Face 2 A 2 C and 2 D. He is the brother of Charles David Jones also a casualty of WWI
Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France Historical Information On 1 July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, thirteen divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to exploit the modest successes of the first day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained. At the end of September, Thiepval was finally captured. The village had been an original objective of 1 July. Attacks north and east continued throughout October and into November in increasingly difficult weather conditions. The Battle of the Somme finally ended on 18 November with the onset of winter. In the spring of 1917, the German forces fell back to their newly prepared defences, the Hindenburg Line, and there were no further significant engagements in the Somme sector until the Germans mounted their major offensive in March 1918. The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. The memorial also serves as an Anglo-French Battle Memorial in recognition of the joint nature of the 1916 offensive and a small cemetery containing equal numbers of Commonwealth and French graves lies at the foot of the memorial.