Walter (James) JONES


JONES, Walter

Service Number: 905
Enlisted: 18 August 1914, Broadmeadows, Victoria
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 8th Infantry Battalion
Born: Sale, Victoria, 13 March 1894
Home Town: Sale, Gippsland, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Cab driver
Died: Killed in Action, France, 9 August 1918, aged 24 years
Cemetery: Fouquescourt British Cemetery
Plot III, Row A, Grave No. 10. Inscription: “Not gone from my memory or my love, but safe in our Fathers home above”
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

18 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 905, Broadmeadows, Victoria
19 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 905, 8th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
19 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 905, 8th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Benalla, Melbourne
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 905, 8th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
11 Aug 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Corporal, 8th Infantry Battalion
13 Oct 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 905, 8th Infantry Battalion, Shell wound (back and arm)
4 May 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 905, 8th Infantry Battalion, Merris (France), 2nd occasion - Shell shock
8 Aug 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 905, 8th Infantry Battalion, Amiens

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 Walter James Jones was born to John Henry and Emily Sarah Jones on the 13th March 1894, in Sale, Victoria. He was the fourth born child to the couple and the eldest boy. All up, he had eight brothers and sisters. He was the only child to see service in World War One as his two younger brothers were not old enough to enlist.

Walter had seen previous service for 18 months in the 48th Battalion in Sale, Victoria. He joined the 8th Battalion, H Company in 1914. They left for the war in Europe after training for two months, on the HMAT Benalla. Before he enlisted, Walter worked as a cab driver, possibly with his father. 

A picture comes to mind about the type of person Walter may have been when you read his service records. He was convicted of striking a fellow soldier and forfeited 20 days pay and had 21 days confinement. Walter saw some of the most intense fighting the ANZAC’s would see in WW1, including the landing at Gallipoli, Battle of Lone Pine, The Western Front, The Somme and Helles. Walter was hospitalised numerous times for being wounded in action, influenza and shell shock. He suffered from a total of four gunshot wounds to his back, arm, leg and neck. But he always went back to his Battalion. He volunteered for service in peace time in the 48th Battalion and was in one of the first Battalions to be mobilised from country Victoria.

Walter married while on furlong in England to Lillian Sarah Watts on 28th October 1917. I imagine that it was a brief wartime romance common in England at the time. Lillian had the following inscription placed on his grave stone “Not gone from my memory or my love, but safe in our Fathers home above”. After his death in 1918, Lillian travelled to Australia and stayed with John and Emily in Sale. She later returned to England and research continues to find out more about her life. There are numerous letters from Emily and Sarah to the Australian War Office asking about his welfare. One can only imagine the awful feeling of receiving a telegram informing loved ones of injury and death. Walter’s family were quite prolific in their letter writing to the War Office. Many letters are regarding his welfare after he was hospitalised. In one particular letter, Emily demands to know when and where her son is buried as the one year anniversary of his death will soon be approaching. 

Walter died one day after one of the Allies most successful battles at the Somme from a gunshot wound on the 8th of August 1918. He is buried at Fouquescourt British Cemetery in Picardie, France. He will be remembered and commemorated by his living nieces and nephews as an Uncle who was probably a bit of a larrikin, who came from a hard working country background, who volunteered to serve his country and as a man who embodied the true spirit of the ANZAC legend.