Monday, 11 November 2013

Theophilus Jones

Theophilus Jones, from the book ‘The Hartlepools in the Great War’ by Frederick Miller, 1920

Theophilus Jones has been on our research list as the first British soldier to be killed in action on British soil in the First World War, during the Hartlepool Bombardment on 16 December 1914.  James at the North East War Memorials Project has been researching Jones and he alerted me, without knowing about my Movember plans, to this photograph in ‘The Hartlepools in the Great War’ by Frederick Miller, published in 1920, in which Theophilus has a very distinguished moustache.  You can read an extract from the book here about the bombardment , as well as find out about memorials recording Theophilus’ death.

Theophilus Jones was a school master at St. Aidan’s and attested with the 18th (County) Battalion The Durham Light Infantry, on 3 October 1914.  The 18th Battalion were stationed at Heugh Battery during the bombardment.  Five members of the 18th Battalion were killed that day:  Private C.S. Clarke; Private Alex Liddle; Private Walter Rogers; Private C.D. Turner; and Private Theophilus Jones is thought to be the first.  Private Thomas Minks died of wounds the following day.  Men from other army units and the navy also died during the bombardment, as well as over one hundred civilians.  Jones was 29 at the time of his death and is buried in Hartlepool (Stranton) Cemetery

You can also learn about some of the men of the County Hall War Memorial, including Thomas Minks, here:

Each year, a small Remembrance service is held at the memorial on 11 November.

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